It’s only appropriate that legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin would go out with some flourish — and her multi-day celebration of life is helping her do just that. Aretha Franklin’s funeral officially started on Tuesday with an official viewing at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.
“She was a symbol for us,” Ann Fortson told Reuters after viewing Franklin resting in her gold-plated casket surrounded by “clouds of pink flowers.”
Franklin was dressed to impress in a ruby red sequined gown, pointed heels, lipstick and earrings. She passed away August 16 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
“There was no way we’d miss paying our respects,” Forston added.
The full schedule for Aretha Franklin’s funeral
Aretha Franklin’s funeral is scheduled to going to be quite the affair. According to journalist Larry C. Spruill Jr., the service will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday and end at 3:00 p.m. — and every minute will be filled with celebration.
The service — at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple — will begin with music from the Aretha Franklin Orchestra and end with performances by Stevie Wonder and a processional by Jennifer Holliday and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir.
Pastor T.D. Jakes, Rev. Al Sharpton, President Bill Clinton and Rev. Jesse Jackson will be among the speakers, and Faith Hill, Jennifer Hudson, Chaka Khan and Ronald Isley will perform.
Here’s the full rundown of what to expect during Aretha Franklin’s funeral:
9:30-9:50 a.m.: Musical Prelude: Aretha Franklin Orchestra
9:50-10:00 a.m.: Lighting of Candles: Swanson Funeral Home, Inc.
10:00-10:20 a.m.: Processional: Clergy, Ministers and Family
10:20-10:25 a.m.: Prayer of Comfort: Dr. E.L. Branch, Pastor, Third New Hope Church
10:25-10:40 a.m.: Scripture of Comfort:
10:25 a.m.: Old Testament: Bishop T.D. Jakes, Potter’s House, Dallas, TX
10:30 a.m.: New Testament: Pastor Solomon Kinloch, Triumph Church
10:35 a.m.: The Psalm: Bishop P.A. Brooks, Pastor, New St. Paul Tabernacle Church
10:40-10:45 a.m.: Musical Tribute: Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir
10:45-10:49 a.m.: Musical Tribute: Faith Hill
10:49-11:03 a.m.: Remarks:
10:49 a.m.: Brenda Jones, City Council President
10:51 a.m.: JoAnn Watson, Detroit City Council
10:53 a.m.: Mike Duggan, Mayor, City of Detroit
10:57 a.m.: Governor Rick Snyder, State of Michigan
11:03-11:08 a.m.: Musical Tribute: Ariana Grande
1108-11:13 a.m.: Musical Tribute: The Clark Sisters
11:13-11:18 a.m: Acknowledgements and Condolences: Barbara Sampson
11:18-11:23 a.m.: Musical Tribute: The Williams Brothers & Vanessa Bell Armstrong
11:23-11:40 a.m.: Family Reflections: Vaughn, Cristal, Victorie & Jordan Franklin
11:40-11:45 a.m.: Family Musical Tribute: Edward Franklin
11:45-11:50 a.m.: Obituary: Sabrina Owens
11:50-11:55 a.m.: Musical Tribute: Alice McAllister Tillman
11:55-12:00 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Audrey DuBois Harris
12:00-12:15 p.m.: Personal Remarks:
12:00 p.m.: Eric Holder, Former U.S. Attorney General
12:05 p.m.: Senator Gary Peters, State of Michigan
12:10 p.m.: Former President, William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton
12:15-12:19 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Pastor Shirley Caesar and Tasha Cobbs-Leonard
12:19-12:36 p.m.: Personal Reflections :
12:19 p.m.: Greg Mathis, Retired Judge, 36th District Court, Detroit, MI
12:23 p.m.: Brenda Lawrence, State Representative, 14th Congressional District
12:27 p.m.: Rev. Donald L. Parsons, Logos Assembly Church, Chicago, IL
12:31 p.m.: Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder, National Action Network
12:36-12:41 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Chaka Khan
12:41-12:51 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Ron Isley
12:51 p.m.: Rev. Jesse Jackson, Founder/President Rainbow P.U.S.H. Coalition
1:00 p.m.: Dr. William J. Barber, II, Pastor, Greenleaf Christian Church, Goldsboro, N.C
1:05 p.m.: Rev. James Holley, Retired Pastor, New Light Missionary Baptist Church
1:10-1:15 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Fantasia Barrino-Taylor
1:15-1:30 p.m: Personal Reflections :
1:15 p.m.: Tyler Perry
1:17 p.m.: Cicely Tyson, Actress
1:20 p.m.: Clive Davis, Chief Creative Officer, Sony Music
1:25 p.m.: Smokey Robinson, Recording Artist
1:30-1:34 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Bishop Paul Morton and Yolanda Adams
1:34-1:53 p.m.: Personal Reflections :
1:34 p.m.: Mildred Gaddis, Radio Personality
1:38 p.m.: Isaiah Thomas, Former NBA Player, Detroit Pistons
1:42 p.m.: Ron Moten, Personal Friend, Franchise Owner, McDonald’s Restaurants
1:48 p.m.: Michael Eric Dyson, Professor of Sociology, Georgetown University
1:53-2:00 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Bishop Marvin Sapp and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir
• 2:00-2:05 p.m.: Sermonic Selection: Jennifer Hudson
• 2:05-2:35 p.m.: Eulogy: Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr., Pastor, Salem Baptist Church, Atlanta GA
• 2:35-2:45 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Stevie Wonder joined by National Artists
• 2:45-3:00 p.m.: Recessional: Jennifer Holliday and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir
Aretha Franklin’s funeral: How to watch
Thousands of fans will line the streets before, during and after Aretha Franklin’s funeral in Detroit. If you can’t be there in person, you can watch the livestream of the entire 5-plus hour service on USA Today’s Facebook page. Major television networks, including CNN and MSNBC, also plan to air portions of her funeral.
There is one notable figure who won’t be at Aretha Franklin’s funeral
President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama won’t be at Aretha Franklin’s funeral, even though the couple was close friends with the “Respect” singer. She sang at his first inauguration in 2009 and moved him to tears during the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors.
“Unfortunately, President and Mrs. Obama will not be able to attend Aretha Franklin’s services on Friday, but they have sent a letter, which the Rev. Al Sharpton will be reading during the service,” spokesperson Katie Hill told USA Today.
The Obamas will instead be at another funeral in Washington D.C. on Friday for Senator John McCain.
“Aretha helped define the American experience,” President Obama wrote on Twitter after her death. “In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade ― our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.”