Stars celebrate Queen Aretha at marathon funeral

Aretha Franklin funeral live stream Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin funeral live stream Queen of Soul

The Queen of Soul was remembered during a almost eight-hour service that featured tributes from former U.S. President Bill Clinton and civil rights leaders, as well as often emotional performances by entertainers Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson and Gladys Knight.

None of the politicians present - including former President Bill Clinton and former Attorney General Eric Holder - took the opportunity to turn the event partisan.

Robinson, the Motown great, remembered first hearing her play piano when he was just 8 and remaining close for the rest of her life, talking for hours at a time.

"No, she used to perform for you", scolded the pastor.

The Aretha Franklin Orchestra performed a medley featuring "I Say a Little Prayer", "Angel" and other songs the Queen of Soul was known for, along with gospel numbers "I Love the Lord" and "Walk in the Light". She lived with faith - not without failure, but overcoming her failures.

On Friday, the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit embodied the spirit, the fierceness and the joy of Aretha Franklin.

Family members surrounded the Franklin's gold casket as it closed, marking the formal start of her funeral.

"We know that she would have wanted nothing but the best", said Sabrina Owens, Franklin's niece who was tasked with planning the funeral in just two weeks.

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"She's brought joy to millions of lives and her extraordinary legacy will thrive and inspire many generations to come". "She was about working with Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton".

Barrino's tribute to Franklin clearly had a strong personal meaning for her, if a tweet she posted on August 16, the day of Franklin's death, was any indication.

"I would imagine she probably felt she was entitled to more, but probably received more than a lot of artists from the time, especially African-American artists", Wilson says.

Mourners began filling the church early Friday, while Franklin's fans and dozens of pink Cadillac owners lined up outside, a tribute to the singer's 1985 hit "Freeway of Love" in which she sang, "We goin' ridin' on the freeway of love in my pink Cadillac". Barack Obama and George W. Bush sent letters that were read aloud to the congregation.

The Rev. Jasper Wiliams Jr., pastor emeritus of Salem Bible Church in Atlanta, gave a fiery eulogy of almost 50 minutes that decried black-on-black violence and touched on challenges and responsibilities within the community. "It was more like us supporting each other", she recalled.

All throughout the week, fans from around the country flooded Detroit to pay homage to the Grammy Award-winning megastar as Franklin lay in repose.

Early in the ceremony, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced his intention to propose naming Chene Park, a 5,000-seat waterfront amphitheater, after Franklin, a move that drew huge cheers from those in attendance. "I wonder what my friend's got on today", he joked. Gospel music and opera filled the rafters, congregants danced and one of her sons sang "Mercy Mercy Me". "You showed the world God's love, and there's nothing more honorable".

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