Everything to know on Aretha's 4-day sendoff

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Tickets to the free Aretha Franklin tribute concert sold out within five minutes of becoming available, marking the first event in a series of week-long tributes, concerts, and visitations culminating in the Queen of Soul's funeral. 

Fans can pay their respects to Franklin while she lies in the Charlies H. Wright museum or watch her seven-hour funeral outside Greater Grace Temple as multiple artists pay homage to her career. Either way, here's all the details to know about her four-day sendoff.

(FILE -2004) Detroit and Motown legend Aretha Franklin performs at the 25th Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival at Hart Plaza in Detroit, Michigan on September 6, 2004.

The Detroit News will cover all of the events live. For those unable to attend, return to www.detroitnews.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Special section: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul

Public visitation

When: 9 a.m. — 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday

Where: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 East Warren Ave. in Detroit.

To know: The Queen of Soul will lie in the museum for visitors to pay their respects. Extra security also will be in place during the viewings, which are open to the public, and the funeral, which is private.

More: Thousands pay respect to the Queen of Soul at first visitation

Viewing at New Bethel

When: Noon — 4 p.m. Thursday

Where: New Bethel Baptist Church, 8430 Linwood in Detroit.

To know: The third viewing was scheduled in addition to the two public viewings at the Wright Museum, but officials say entry will be very limited. 

More: New Bethel Remembers Aretha

Tribute concert

UPDATE: Tickets are sold out

When: 6 p.m. — 9 p.m. Thursday

Where: Chene Park Amphitheatre, 2600 Atwater Street, Detroit

To know: Tickets for the show are free and will be released at 10 a.m. Monday on Ticketmaster, with a limit of two tickets per person. "In honor of the Queen, Ticketmaster will waive all fees," according to Chene Park's website.

Line up: Cherri Black, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Doug Carn, Jean Carne, Kurt Carr, Steffinie, Christian, Angela Davis, Raheem DeVaughn, George Faison, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Gwen Foxx, The Four Tops, Eddie Franklin, Gracie Franklin, Victorie Franklin, Johnny Gill, Beth Griffith-Manley, Kimmie Horne, Santita Jackson, Dr. Bobby Jones, KIKO, Alise King, Gladys Knight, L’Renee, Jenifer Lewis, Tasha Page-Lockhart, LJ Reynolds, KiKi Sheard and Angie Stone. 

More: Aretha Franklin's granddaughter shares tribute on social media 


When: 10 a.m. on Friday

Where: Greater Grace Temple, 23500 West Seven Mile Road in Detroit

To know: Although the funeral will be invitation-only, the public will be able to view it from a large screen outside Greater Grace Temple.

The Word Network will broadcast the service in its entirety. 

Bishop Charles H. Ellis III, pastor of Greater Grace Temple said the funeral could last as long as seven hours. There will also be an extensive amount of security. 

“Three members of the Secret Service were here today checking out all of the entrances, exits, doing a pre-check to familiarize themselves with the building,” said Ellis. “There also will be security on the rooftops, and the sniffing dogs will be at the church very early on the day of the funeral.”

In her hit song “Freeway of Love,” Aretha Franklin joyously sang about cruising in a pink Cadillac. At 8:30 a.m. on the day of her funeral, more than 100 pink Caddies are expected to file in outside the church and owners will be permitted to attend the private funeral, the church’s first lady Crisette Ellis said.

More: Pink Cadillacs set course for Aretha Franklin’s funeral

Artists expected: Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, Ron Isley, Chaka Khan, Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson are among the stars from across the range of music — gospel, pop, country, opera and R&B — who will travel to Detroit to pay homage to Franklin.

Full list of artists set to perform

Speakers include Smokey Robinson, one of Franklin’s childhood neighbors from Detroit’s north end, along with Clive Davis, her one-time record company boss, Bishop T.D. Jakes, pastor of the Potter’s House in Dallas, Rev. Jim Holley, pastor of Detroit's Historic Little Rock Baptist Church, and actress Cicely Tyson.

Full list of people set to speak

Political figures expected: Among those confirmed is former President Bill Clinton. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama also were invited, but as of Friday afternoon, they had not confirmed.

Political figures expected to address the Celebration of Life include former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Gov. Rick Snyder, Mayor Mike Duggan, U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence of Southfield, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, and the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

The eulogy will be delivered by the Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr., pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Atlanta. Ellis will serve as co-officiant, along with the Rev. Robert Smith, Jr., pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church.


Where: Woodlawn Cemetery, 19975 Woodward Ave. in Detroit

To know: Franklin will be entombed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, along with her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin; brother Cecil Franklin; sisters Carolyn Franklin and Erma Franklin; and nephew, Thomas Garrett.

MoreNew mural pops up honoring Queen of Soul