Friday’s funeral service for Aretha Franklin at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple will bring her week of tributes to a close with a live-streamed, all-day ceremony starting at 10 a.m. ET.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, former Detroit Pistons star and coach Isiah Thomas, 1960s R&B star Martha Reeves, Ariana Grande, Chaka Khan, Jennifer Hudson and Oscar-winner and “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg were among the first of an expected crowd of celebrities arriving Thursday morning for an hours-long celebration of the forever-reigning Queen of Soul’s life.
Jackson and Thomas are scheduled to speak. Stevie Wonder, Grande, Hudson and Khan are among the many performers lined up to sing at the funeral, with other names including Faith Hill, Ronald Isley and Fantasia.
Franklin will be honored by various high-profile speakers, including former President Bill Clinton, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Motown star Smokey Robinson. Former Detroit Tiger Willie Horton was there, and NBA great LeBron James was expected to attend.
Shortly before 10 a.m., Clinton, accompanied by Hillary Clinton, the former first lady, U.S. senator, secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, arrived for the funeral; the former president was looking over his notes after climbing out of a maroon mini-van.
Later, Grande was spotted, her long hair pulled up in a fashionable ponytail, hugging and chatting with a smiling Hillary Clinton, and then posing with her fiance, Pete Davidson of the “Saturday Night Live” cast, with the grinning former president.
Dressed in a mini-skirt, Grande sang “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” the Carole King song that Franklin made her own.
Other famous names among the arrivals: Isley, Robinson, Hill, Omarosa Manigault Newman, Tyler Perry, Gladys Knight, Jennifer Holliday, Jenifer Lewis, Big Sean, Cicely Tyson, and the gospel group The Clark Sisters.
Prominent African-American politicos also were in attendance, including Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer.
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan was there, as were the Rev. Al Sharpton, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, current Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, and local Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich.
Although Franklin famously performed at former President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, he and former first lady Michelle Obama won’t be in Detroit for the funeral; likely because he was asked to give a eulogy at Sen. John McCain’s memorial service in Washington this weekend. The couple did send a letter, which the Rev. Al Sharpton read during the service.
Baptist funeral primer:Aretha Franklin’s Detroit funeral puts faith’s tradition on display
Aretha Franklin funeral: See the epic program for the six-hour event
How to watch the funeral
Franklin’s funeral is limited to invited guests – but the world will be able to watch.
The Friday service will be made available for viewing live online and on television. National broadcasters including HLN and the Word Network plan to air the lengthy funeral in its entirety, though HLN will occasionally break in for headline updates.
Franklin’s funeral will also be live-streamed, including on usatoday.com and by USA TODAY on Facebook.
For TV viewers in Detroit, the service will be broadcast live by several stations. Nationally, Fox News, MSNBC and CNN plan to air portions of the service live, representatives of those networks confirmed.
The funeral service will also be aired in its entirety on SiriusXM satellite radio’s Channel 49, the soul-music station that’s been temporarily dubbed “The Aretha Franklin Tribute Channel.” The channel will take calls from listeners after the service.
Contributing: Detroit Free Press
Aretha Franklin funeral details: A week of remembering the Queen of Soul
Aretha outfit change: Queen of Soul dressed in rose gold for final church viewing
Bishop Charles Ellis III says the funeral for the late Aretha Franklin is not a show, it’s a reminder you can’t escape death no matter who you are. (Aug. 28)
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2LJY3U7