Celebrating Aretha Franklin

“In Aretha,” the Rev. Dr. William Barber said at her funeral, “the holiness of the sacred and the secular came together, in a way that could be only ordered by the Lord. Some say that even as the world spins, there is a certain tune to the world’s orbit. Aretha tapped into that tune, and taught us its rhythm.”

Celebrities honored Aretha Franklin, the legendary singer, at her “homegoing” in Detroit. Those who attended the funeral were greeted by a line-up of more than 130 pink Cadillacs on the road leading to Greater Grace Temple, a nod of respect to the singer who had deep affection for pink Cadillacs: “We goin’ ridin’ on the freeway of love in my pink Cadillac,” she sang in her 1985 single “Freeway of Love.”

The Cadillac idea was arranged by Crisette Ellis, wife of the Greater Grace Temple pastor. “My husband said, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could have a sea of pink Cadillacs parked on Seven Mile Road to greet Ms. Aretha Franklin as she arrives?’” Ellis told NPR.

The service of honor went on for several hours between tributes and songs.

“The greatest gift that has been given in life itself is love. We can talk about all the things that are wrong, and there are many, but the only thing that can deliver us is love,” said Stevie Wonder at the conclusion. “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 our love that will make all things matter when we make love great again.”

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