Aretha Franklin: Fans gather to view Queen of Soul’s body


Thousands of fans are expected to pay their respects to Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, who died nearly two weeks ago.

Franklin’s body will be on view for two days at an African-American museum in her home town, Detroit, before her funeral there on Friday.

The museum also hosted civil rights activist Rosa Parks’s viewing in 2005.

Detroit, seen as the home of soul music, is treating Franklin’s death as the passing of royalty.

A week of mourning is being held in the city.

The 76-year-old’s body will be on public view on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Charles H Wright Museum of African American History.

Tributes flood in for Aretha Franklin
At the scene – Rajini Vaidyanathan, BBC News, Detroit

As the sun rose on America’s Motor City, the crowds were already waiting in line to say a final farewell to the Queen of Soul.

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.

Here the mood is melodic, not morose.

Aretha Franklin was a global superstar whose voice will be remembered the world over, but she never forgot her hometown roots.

This week, her hometown is showing the world, they’ll never forget her.

The venue was reportedly chosen because Rosa Parks’s viewing took place there in 2005 and because it needs to accommodate the thousands of people expected to attend.

Friday’s funeral at the Greater Grace Temple is for family and friends only, but Chaka Khan, Jennifer Hudson and Stevie Wonder are among those due to sing there.

Former US President Bill Clinton will be among the speakers.

The streets outside are expected to be lined with pink Cadillac cars, in a tribute to Franklin’s 1985 hit Freeway of Love.

The singer will then be laid to rest at the city’s Woodlawn Cemetery.

Franklin, whose voice became an inspiration for dozens of other singers, was also committed to civil rights throughout her life and famously sang at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

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