Aretha Franklin in final resting place Friday
Aretha Franklin is in her final resting place.
The Queen of Soul was interred Friday evening in a mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, just over two weeks after she died of pancreatic cancer at age 76.
Franklin’s loved ones arrived at the cemetery after a 10-mile processional through her hometown from Greater Grace Temple, where an eight-hour service of songs, sermons and speeches was held earlier in the day.
She is to be entombed along with her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin; brother Cecil Franklin; sisters Carolyn Franklin and Erma Franklin; and nephew Thomas Garrett.
Woodlawn is also home to the graves of civil rights luminary Rosa Parks.
The interment ends the formal mourning for Franklin, who was dressed in four different outfits for open-casket viewings in the days leading up to the funeral.
She was buried in a gold dress and sparkling pumps.
Her life was front and center throughout the lengthy funeral that drew celebrities and dignitaries.
Stevie Wonder closed out the ceremony by singing "As," the singer's deeply soulful single from his "Songs in the Key of Life" album.
Wonder tuned up by performing the Lord's Prayer on his harmonica, and spoke extensively about the need for love in the world.
"The greatest gift we have been given in life itself is love," Wonder said. "Yes, we can talk about all the things that are wrong, and there are many. But the only thing that can deliver us is love.
"So what needs to happen today, not only in this nation but throughout the world, is that we need to make love great again.
"Because black lives do matter. Because all lives do matter. And if we love God, then we know, truly, it is love that will make all things matter, when we make love great again."
Wonder said love was one of Franklin's enduring messages.
"That is what Aretha said throughout her life," he said. "Through the pain she gave us, the joy, and (she) said let’s make love great again."
Earlier, Detroit Pistons great Isiah Thomas teared up while speaking at Franklin's service.
Thomas spoke of his long friendship with the Queen of Soul and the way his family took him in and treated him like their own when he came to Detroit from Chicago.
"I was honored to get to know Aretha," Thomas said. "And she had a great love for sports. She loved the Detroit Pistons, and I know I was her favorite Bad Boy."
Thomas said not only did Franklin command respect, she demanded respect.
"Aretha shifted the universe, and she moved us all not only with her songs but through her spirit and through her love," he said.
"I’m gonna miss you Aretha. I’m gonna miss our phone calls. I’m gonna miss your words of wisdom and advice. The world is gonna miss you," he said. "I want you to know I love you, the world loves you, and most importantly, Aretha, Detroit loves you."
The star power backstage at Franklin’s funeral was immense as it was stirring. From Ronald Isley staying razor focused before singing, to Stevie Wonder — who slept in the pastor’s study after performing in Baltimore the night before — dealing with what handlers say was the reality that has longtime friend was gone.
After belting out “Amazing Grace,” Jennifer Hudson told The Detroit News exclusively that Franklin “was the queen and still is the queen.”
Minutes after he spoke, Tyler Perry chatted with Omarosa and then talked about how humbled he was to have met Franklin and how she loved his "Madea" character.
And pastors from Rev. Jackson to Bishop Ellis and even Minister Louis Farrakhan, held court in the pulpit, but took breaks to grab water and go to the bathroom.
Franklin was a musical icon as well as a civil rights pioneer, so it's no surprise her funeral services on Friday touched on hot button political issues.
During his impassioned tribute to Franklin, Rev. Al Sharpton called Franklin "the soundtrack of the civil rights movement," and then took a dig at President Donald Trump.
During his television show last week, Sharpton misspelled "respect" when paying tribute to Franklin, and said he heard about it from views.
"You corrected me," he said. "Now I want y’all to help me correct President Trump by teaching him what it means."
He referred to a statement made by Trump that Franklin used to "work for" him. "She used to perform for you, she worked for us," Sharpton said, prompting cheers from the audience. "Aretha never took orders from nobody but God."
Judge Greg Mathis said his last conversation with Franklin was about the Flint Water Crisis. He hesitated to talk about it, since Michigan Governor Rick Synder spoke earlier in the day, but said he was ready to go to Flint to fight for clean water in Franklin's honor. "She told me to 'sock it to 'em,'" he said, "so I'm going to sock it to 'em."
Rev. Jesse Jackson also brought up politics at the service, noting the long lines that greeted both Franklin's funeral and her viewing at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History earlier this week.
"Long lines to celebrate death and short lines for voting. We lost Michigan by 11,000 votes," he said. "Something is missing."
Not everyone was political, not even the politicians. Former President Bill Clinton called himself a "groupie" of Aretha Franklin's during the Queen of Soul's funeral services at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit on Friday.
Clinton was one of a long list of dignitaries paying homage to Franklin during the ceremony.
Faith Hill, Ariana Grande and Smokey Robinson honored Aretha Franklin in song, as did Chaka Khan and Ron Isley.
Clinton honored Franklin's hard work for her achievements.
"This is what I think you should remember in this time about this magnificent woman: She worked her can off to get where she was," he said. "She took the gifts God gave her, and she kept getting a little bigger every day."
He recalled seeing her last public performance, in November 2017, during an AIDS fundraiser in New York, hosted by Elton John. Franklin, though clearly ill, performed for 45 minutes and told the audience she had received a clean bill of health prior to the performance.
"I have no idea if it was true or not," Clinton said. But she said so because she wanted the crowd to enjoy themselves, and "not worry about how long she was going to live."
Clinton closed his remarks by playing "Think" on his phone and holding his microphone up to his phone's tiny speaker.
"It’s the key to freedom," Clinton said. "God bless you, Aretha. We love you!"
Tyler Perry remembered he the time he talked to Franklin on the phone as Madea, his most popular character. Perry is the creator of one of Franklin's favorite TV shows, "The Haves and the Have Nots," whose cast was on hand at the service.
He said as a kid, his mother would play Franklin's music, and she could tell whether his parents were getting along depending on her selections.
"If she was playing 'Respect' or 'Think,' he might have done something wrong. But If she was playing 'Dr. Feelgood,' he might have done something right," he said.
There was an air of celebration in the ceremony, as entertainers and esteemed guests honored Franklin and her incredible legacy in music, in church and in humanitarian issues.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan made a proclamation to rename Detroit's Chene Park as Aretha Franklin Park, so future generations of performers "know they are performing at the home of the Queen of Soul," Duggan said.
Country superstar Hill took the reigns on "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," while pop singer Grande performed Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." As she closed, Bishop Charles Ellis III pulled Grande aside, and said he owed her an apology. He said when he heard Ariana Grande was a part of the bill, "I thought that was a new something at Taco Bell," he said.
There was room for levity at the ceremony, and there was also room for tears. Robinson sang a few a capella bars from his own "Really Gonna Miss You," after telling stories of their long friendship.
The star-studded event started late and quickly fell behind schedule.
"It took us a little time to get in here," said Ellis, "but I believe the Queen wouldn't have had it any other way."
The program kicked off at just after 10:35 a.m., 35 minutes past its scheduled start time of 10 a.m. with a choir singing Walter Hawkins’ “Marvelous” as attendees filed in to their seats. It was an hour later by the time family, including Franklin's sons Kecalf Cunningham, Edward Franklin and Teddy White Jr., arrived.
Ellis vowed to keep the ceremony moving along, but added he would be sure to "take the necessary time to honor this great woman of God."
As the family was seated, the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir sang a stirring rendition of "Soon As I Get Home," and sang "Jesus the Light of the World" as Franklin's casket lid was lowered.
Dr. E.L. Branch remembered Franklin as "a queen, a true queen, royalty at its best." Bishop T.D. Jakes praised Franklin as both worldly and down-to-earth, saying she was classy enough to perform on music's biggest stages, but also "homegirl enough to make some potato salad and fry some chicken.”
Early arrivals to the ceremony include the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, music industry mogul Clive Davis, superstar singer Faith Hill, Academy Award winners Jennifer Hudson and Whoopi Goldberg, singer Ariana Grande and her fiance, "SNL" star Pete Davidson, Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and boxing great Thomas Hearns. Detroit rapper Big Sean was spotted in the crowd as well.
Mourners rose to their feet as Bill and Hillary Clinton entered the service.
The Queen of Soul's casket arrived at the church around 7:30 a.m. in the same hearse that took her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, to his final resting place. Ellis, pastor at Greater Grace Temple, was waiting for her.
“This day is absolutely historic,” Ellis said. "I think each and every one of us make our mark in life, whether brief or small or significant. Only once in a while do you have someone like Aretha Franklin that makes a mark, an indelible person, as she has.”
The church says it will allow 2,000 members of the public to attend the funeral. People lined up overnight wearing their Sunday best for a chance to get inside.
Franklin herself is dressed in a sparkling full-length gold dress, designed by Linda Swanson, with gold sequined Louboutins for her final outfit.
Mourners got a glimpse of the Queen of Soul before her funeral Friday during an open casket viewing at Greater Grace Temple. The gold dress is the fourth outfit Franklin has worn during a week of events leading up to her funeral.
Franklin was dressed head to heel in red for her first public viewing on Tuesday, a nod to her membership in the sorority Delta Sigma Theta. She wore a baby blue dress on Wednesday and a rose gold gown for a viewing Thursday at the Detroit church where her father was the longtime pastor.
Numerous floral arrangements from celebrities including Sam Moore, Mariah Carey, Barbra Streisand and the family of Otis Redding were set up in a hallway outside the sanctuary.
Moore’s arrangement included a card that read, “You know I always adored and loved you to bits and pieces … Even when we would fuss.”
Her funeral comes after three days of events in which fans could say goodbye to the Queen of Soul.
She lied in state Aug. 28 and 29 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.
A third public viewing was held Thursday at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit and followed by a sold-out tribute concert at the Chene Park Amphitheatre. Tickets for the concert sold out in about 10 minutes when they were made available Monday.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.