The organizers of the funeral of Aretha Franklin insist that it will be a service, not a concert, show or production of awards & # 39 ;.
However, the final farewell of the Queen of the Soul on Friday will certainly encompass many elements, emotions and grand entries that were the hallmark of her more than six decades in stages.
The invitation-only funeral at the Grand Grace Temple in Detroit, which crowns a week of events that included high-profile public visits and tribute concerts, arrives with keynote speakers and interpreters.
Say the name: The walls of the church where Franklin learned to sing the gospel were decorated with balloons that spell his name and posters.
Everyone greets the 'Queen': the mourners leave balloons in the shape of stars under a sign on the walls of the church that spell out 'Reina'. on day 3 of Franklin's public visit
Among those who will offer words will be former President Bill Clinton, Rev Jesse Jackson and Smokey Robinson.
The songs will be provided by Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Faith Hill, Shirley Caesar, Chaka Khan and more.
The street on the outskirts of Greater Grace will be lined with pink Cadillacs, a nod to the funky song of the 80s, "Freeway of Love," which stood out with the car in the lyrics and video.
More than 40 artists took the stage at the concert & # 39; A popular tribute to the queen & # 39; in Detroit, Michigan on Thursday night
Jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater performs at the concert in honor of the Queen of the Soul
Free tickets were obtained within a few minutes of being available online at the 5,000-seat amphitheater.
His chest was transported this week by a 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse that also brought Franklin's father, the legendary minister CL Franklin, and civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks to his resting places at Woodlawn Cemetery, where the singer will join them.
Bishop Charles Ellis III of Greater Grace knows well the guest list in bold and the pomp and circumstance that surrounds it, but has a higher mission in mind for service that may well exceed five hours.
Ellis said: "My goal and my goal is to make sure that people get out of here with some kind of spiritual awakening, this is not a concert, it's not a show, it's not an awards production.
"This is a real life that has been lived, that a person, regardless of how famous he became no matter how many people he touched in the whole world, still could not escape death.
In style: Aretha Franklin was transported to New Bethel Baptist Church in a vintage LaSalle, dressed in a bright pink gold evening dress accented with pink beaded lace and combined with Christian Louboutin heels with gold sequins.
All that glitters: The coffin bearers carry the polished bronze chest of legendary singer Aretha Franklin to New Bethel Baptist Church on Thursday in Detroit
"And hopefully, many people here with money and fame and influence and friends and notoriety and wealth, hopefully they will think about their mortality and they will say that there is something bigger than fame, that there is something bigger than Hollywood, something bigger than Be an artist of recording and selling gold albums or whatever.
"Of course, some getting off and on do not need to be mutually exclusive, I really think this … it's going to be a revealing experience for everyone in the world watching," said gospel artist Marvin Sapp, also among the scheduled artists.
"We really celebrate because we really recognize that those we call deceased loved ones will not want us to cry and be sad and sad." But they would like us to celebrate their lives because they made the transition from this life to a better life. "
Attendees stand to open the doors when the coffin that takes Franklin to New Bethel Baptist Church arrives
Artificial garden: a man works on a growing improvised monument for Franklin outside New Bethel Baptist Church
Sapp would not disclose what he will perform on Friday, but said that each song is one chosen by Franklin. Robinson also did not share what he will say, but it is for a different reason.
"I do not plan anything (with) someone who loves like that," said Robinson, a great Motown who grew up with Franklin. & # 39; I love her. She was my longest friend. "
Robinson said he will "personal" it, since he stayed close to Franklin until the end.
She said they were talking all the time, the last one just a couple of weeks before she got too sick to talk.
Franklin rested in her pink gold dress in the polished bronze coffin, in the photo that was taken to church
Members of The Nation of Islam distribute copies of The Final Call newspaper to Aretha Franklin fans waiting outside the church
"We saw all our other close friends go," Robinson said. "We used to talk about that, we saw many soldiers go."
Amidst the sadness of these days, Robinson can find an impulse and believes that Franklin's legacy is secure. A new generation of singers like Grande, inspired by the late Queen of the Soul, is just the beginning.
"There are some girls who have not been born yet … who will be inspired by Aretha," he said.
Sabrina Owens, Franklin's niece, said she started putting thoughts in writing about the events earlier this year when her aunt's health failed.
Since Franklin's death on August 16 at age 76, Owens said a group close to the one she described as "the angels of Aretha". have worked tirelessly & # 39; and have been guided by a single question: "What would Aretha want? & # 39;
"After everything he gave the world, I felt we had to give him a proper farewell to match his legacy," Owens said.