Aretha Franklin’s Grand Farewell: 6 Incredible Facts, From Outfit Changes to Pink Cadillacs

A surprising connection to Rosa Parks and big names attend funeral

Last Updated: August 31, 2018 @ 10:34 AM

Aretha Franklin is being laid to rest on Friday, and her funeral is a star-studded affair replete with tributes to the Queen of Soul. Franklin died on Aug. 16 at her home in Detroit, Michigan, and mourning her loss are fans, family and other celebrity guests.

Guests attended the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan. You can watch a livestream of the event here via CNN.

Here though are five astounding details about the late singer’s grand farewell:

1. Pink Cadillacs Lined the Streets

Pink Cadillacs line up outside Greater Grace Temple, the site Franklin’s funeral on Friday in Detroit (Getty Images)

More than 100 pink Cadillacs lined Detroit streets this morning as guests arrived to the funeral. According to the Detroit Free Press, the funeral procession featured two or three cars wide for a full city block along 7 mile road. Franklin sang about pink Cadillacs in her ’80s hit, “Freeway of Love.”

2. Aretha Franklin Is Getting a Park Named After Her

Detroit mayor Rick Duggan announced that on Tuesday he planned to send Detroit city council a proposal to rename the city’s Chene Park to be renamed Aretha Franklin Park. “Our beautiful waterfront jewel will be Aretha Franklin Park. When performers from generations to come are performing, they’ll be reminded they are at the home of the Queen of Soul.” A street in the city will also be named after Franklin.

Franklin’s casket arrives for funeral service in Detroit on Friday (Getty Images)

3. Franklin Will Share a Ride With Rosa Parks

Aretha’s last ride will be the same hearse that carried the body of civil rights legend Rosa Parks when she passed away in 2005. The ivory car is a 1940 LaSalle made by Cadillac that has been reserved at Swanson Funeral Home for these most special of occasions in Motor City.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends Franklin’s funeral on Friday (Getty Images)

4. A Star-Studded Lineup Speaks and Performs

Former President Bill Clinton (R) and religious leaders (L to R) Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson attend Franklin’s funeral (Getty Images)

Former President Bill Clinton is one of many speaking at Franklin’s funeral. Also speaking are the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Smokey Robinson. And live performances and songs will be provided by Steve Wonder, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Faith Hill, Shirley Caesar, Chaka Khan and more. Grande performed “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman” on stage (see below). “Aretha Franklin was not just an unparalleled artist, she was a civil rights activist and freedom fighter,” Jackson said. “It is easy to celebrate the gifts that God gives. It is more difficult when someone uses those gifts to celebrate humanity.”

Among the other guests in attendance were Tyler Perry, Jennifer Holliday, Gladys Knight, Jenifer Lewis, Detroit Pistons star Isaiah Thomas, Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

5. 40 Artists Performed at a Tribute Concert

Over 40 artists performed a special tribute concert for Franklin at Detroit’s Chene Park Amphitheatre Thursday night. Tyler Perry spoke on stage, and Patti LaBelle was among those who had performed. “There’s no place in the world that knows how to send somebody home like Detroit, Michigan,” Perry said on stage according to the Detroit Free Press. “Aretha is looking down smiling.”

6. Outfit changes

Franklin in red on Tuesday (Getty Images)

In her final public open-casket viewing on Friday, Franklin had a third outfit of the week, this time sporting a rose gold St. John’s gown and gold Christian Louboutin heels, according to Entertainment Tonight. She wore red early in the week and changed into powder blue before wearing rose gold.


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