At least 100 pink Cadillacs showed up for Aretha Franklin's funeral

Oscar Cross
September 1, 2018

Ellis, who presided over the Queen's grand funeral service, graciously thanked Grande for her moving delivery of "Natural Woman", which she also sang live on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" the day of Franklin's death on August 16. The church also hosted Rosa Parks' funeral in 2005, at which Franklin sang.

"Thank you, Aretha, for the inspiration and pride you've given to Detroit and the world".

Singing a Franklin classic in front of the late icon's family and friends was no doubt a daunting task, but Grande handled it with grace, keeping her usual verbal gymnastics in check to deliver a handsome, faithful rendition.

"Nothing sounded better to me than the way my grandma sings", she added. "I would always shrug my shoulders and go I don't know".

Bishop Charles H. Ellis of Greater Grace Temple in Detroit began speaking almost two hours after the ceremony had been slated to begin.

She was wearing a full-length gold dress, the final of four outfits she was changed into throughout the week's public viewings.

The cars are a reference to her song, "Freeway of Love", in which she sings: "We goin' ridin' on the freeway of love in my pink Cadillac".

Among those honoring Franklin Friday are about two dozen owners of Pink Cadillacs who arrived at the church early Friday.

The speakers at Friday's invitation-only funeral at Detroit's Greater Grace Temple include former President Bill Clinton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Smokey Robinson.

"Laura and I are deeply saddened by the loss of the 'Queen of Soul, ' Aretha Franklin".

Clinton said, "I wonder what my friend has got on today".

"Music was the highlight of Franklin's epic funeral - Fantasia performed gospel song "Precious Lord, Take My Hand", while Ariana Grande, clad in a short black dress, delivered the 1967 hit "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman".

Her family wanted to keep the funeral service private to those closest to Franklin - though it will be streamed and portions broadcast by major networks - but worked to provide the singer's many fans an extended opportunity to say goodbye this week, Owens said.

"There are some girls who haven't been born yet ... who will be inspired by Aretha", he said.

She had performed in 1988 at the since-closed Trump Castle casino in Atlantic City, N.J., which Trump referenced in remarks after her passing. "We really celebrate because we really recognize that those we call the dearly departed, they wouldn't want for us to cry and be sad and sorrowful". "I love her. She was my longest friend".

Friday's service will touch on Franklin's significance to her friends, family and fans, organizers told CNN.

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