Star-Studded Lineup Set for Aretha Franklin Service

Chaka Khan, Ronald Isley, Fantasia and Yolanda Adams are among those slated to honor late icon Aretha Franklin at the Aug. 31 service in Detroit, according to Billboard magazine.

The Queen of Soul’s life will be celebrated in song Friday at a funeral in her native Detroit that will feature performances from 19 different acts, including Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Faith Hill, The Four Tops and others.

According to the full list of expected performers published by the Detroit Free Press, Franklin’s celebration takes place at the Greater Grace Temple on Detroit’s west side by nearly two dozen pop, R&B and gospel singers, including Yolanda Adams, Shirley Caesar, the Clark Sisters and Jennifer Holiday, with Greater Grace’s Bishop Charles H. Ellis III officiating the service along with the Rev. Robert Smith Jr. of Detroit’s New Bethel Baptist Church.

The eulogy for the late music superstar, who died Aug. 16 following a battle with pancreatic cancer, will be delivered by the Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. of Atlanta’s Salem Baptist Church.

While private, some public seating might become available for the funeral, according to reports.

Other performers slated to participate include Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, Marvin Sapp, The Williams Brothers, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Audrey McAllister Tillman, Edward Franklin, the Aretha Franklin Orchestra and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir, Billboard reported.

Franklin will lie in state at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American history between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28 and Wednesday, Aug. 29.

The museum is located at 315 E. Warren Street in Detroit.

The private funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday.

The “Respect” singer and civil rights icon, who became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, will then be buried near Rosa Parks at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit.

“The NNPA profoundly mourns the passing of our beloved Sister Leader Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin,” said NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. “Her creative genius was matched by her steadfast courage as a freedom-fighting singer and leader for civil rights. Black America and all people of goodwill throughout the world will miss her but never forgotten. … Long live the spirit and legacy of Queen Aretha Franklin.”

NNPA Chairman Dorothy Leavell added, “As chairman of NNPA, I send a message of sadness and respect for our beloved Queen whose music genius permeated and resounded around the world.”

America has no royalty but the nation does have a chance to earn something more enduring, former President Barack Obama said.

“For more than six decades since, every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine,” he said. “Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade — our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human.  And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.

“Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all,” Obama said. “May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song.”

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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