Ariana Grande added to Aretha Franklin funeral

Susan Whitall and Adam Graham
The Detroit News
Ariana Grande

Reigning pop superstar Ariana Grande has been added to the list of performers at Aretha Franklin’s funeral, said Franklin’s publicist Gwendolyn Quinn on Tuesday.

Grande and Aretha had met at the "Women of Soul" event at the White House in 2014, and "Aretha liked her," Quinn said. When news of Aretha's death came, Grande posted a video of herself singing "Natural Woman." That came to the family's attention, and she was invited.Grande paid tribute to the Queen of Soul during an appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” earlier this month. Grande performed “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” backed by the Roots. 

Grande’s fourth album, “Sweetener,” is currently the No. 1 album in the country. (Franklin’s “30 Greatest Hits” compilation is just five spots behind, at No. 6.)

She will join Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, Ron Isley, Chaka Khan, Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson who will sing at Queen of Soul’s Celebration of Life on Friday at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit.

Other performers will be: Yolanda Adams, Pastor Shirley Caesar, The Clark Sisters, Jennifer Holliday, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, Bishop Marvin Sapp, The Williams Brothers, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, classical artist Audrey DuBois Harris, soprano Alice McAllister Tillman, Franklin’s son Edward Franklin, the Aretha Franklin Orchestra and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir. The list was confirmed by Gwendolyn Quinn, Franklin's longtime publicist.

Franklin, 76, died of advanced pancreatic cancer on Aug. 16 in her home in Detroit. The winner of 18 Grammy awards, she was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2005, Franklin received the country's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President George W. Bush.

The first day of public viewing was Tuesday and will continue from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren in Detroit. A third viewing will be noon to 4 p.m. Thursday at New Bethel Baptist Church, 8430 Linwood in Detroit.

A tribute concert to Franklin will be Thursday at Chene Park, and the funeral will follow at 10 a.m. Friday at Greater Grace Temple in northwest Detroit.