Thousands of people came out in their numbers to bid the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin farewell at the Charles H. Wright Museum for African American History on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by an afternoon viewing at her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church on Thursday, and a star-studded funeral on Friday.
White-gloved, sharp-suited pallbearers escorted her casket into the museum on Tuesday, ahead of the two days of 9 am to 9 pm viewing, where she lay in state surrounded by enormous clouds of pink, white and purple roses.
Considered royalty in her Michigan hometown of Detroit, people reportedly camped out through the night to pay their respects with some travelling from far and wide, at times breaking into song or wearing Aretha T-shirts.
Just before 8 o’clock in the morning, a white vintage Cadillac pulled up at the city’s African American museum – moments later a gold casket was carried out. Just as she always did, Aretha Franklin arrived in style.
It didn’t take long for fans to break out in a rendition of Amazing Grace. Throughout the day, crowds who’ve waited patiently to pay respects have been spontaneously singing their favourite Aretha songs.
The mood was melodic, not morose.
Aretha Franklin was a global superstar whose voice will be remembered the world over, but she never forgot her hometown roots.