Stevie Wonder Closes Aretha Funeral With Moving Performance

Eloise Marshall
September 3, 2018

"We don't all agree on everything", he said. "We don't all agree on everything but we agree on Aretha".

Aretha Franklin was so hard-nosed in her business dealings that she demanded to be paid in cash before performing.

Rev Sharpton said she was the "soundtrack" of the movement as well as a "feminist before feminism" and a "civil rights leader before it was acceptable to stand up". "None shall sleep. She is not here, she is risen". The Rev. Al Sharpton read a statement from former President Barack Obama, who wrote that Franklin's "work reflected the very best of the American story".

On Twitter, people noted that applause at a funeral is unusual and praised much of her speech. She was given a great gift from God - her voice, and she used it well. The secret of her greatness was she took her massive talent, and this ideal life that raised her, and she became the composer of her own song.

A public concert and memorial service celebrated Franklin's life last night. Over decades, she increased her musical reach to wider forms of expression but stayed true to her beginnings.

It was a celebration befitting a queen.

"Walk in the light", the singers proclaimed as the casket lid was lowered, "the handsome light". She gave us a regal bar to reach.

Franklin's granddaughter Victorie Franklin was among the family members who recalled the woman behind the legendary performer.

CHAKA KHAN: (Singing) I'm going up yonder, going up yonder, going up yonder.

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Among the stunning and powerful performances was her dear friend Stevie Wonder offering comfort with his song.

"Yeah, she had the voice of a generation, maybe the voice of the century... but she also worked for years when nobody was paying particular attention". Her oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute, said the 76-year-old singer's official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.

In the church lobby were floral arrangements from some of Franklin's best-known friends, including Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross.

Amid the sadness of these days, Robinson can find uplift - and believes Franklin's legacy is secure. An arrangement from singer Sam Moore included a card that read, "You know I always adored and loved you to bits and pieces".

"I just loved her", he said.

Thus far, however, there is no indication of discord among Franklin's family. Franklin's burial site is at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit alongside her Baptist minister father C.L. Franklin.

"We knew we wanted to have certain gospel artists like the Williams Brothers and Pastor Shirley Caesar", Owens said.

Both Clintons were longtime fans of Franklin's - and the former President had invited her to perform many times during his tenure in the White House. "This is all about Aretha Franklin".

A processional of Aretha Franklin's family and other loved ones is filling the aisles of the Greater Grace Temple on Friday morning in her hometown of Detroit. Although she suffered personal hardships, sorrows and tragedies, Aretha remained one of America's iconic gifts to the world.

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