Aretha Franklin fans corralled in Detroit on Tuesday to respectfully bow down to the Queen of Soul during the first day of public visitation at the Charles H. Wright Museum. In true Aretha fashion, the proceedings have gone down in style.
Franklin died of pancreatic cancer at age 76, on August 16. The public visitation is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday at the Wright museum, formerly the largest African American museum in America (prior to the 2016 opening of Washington D.C.’s National Museum of African American History and Culture).
The visitation runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m on both days, and the museum has restricted the use of phones and electronic devices upon entering. Fans lined up outside the museum to honor Franklin with songs, flowers, cards, t-shirts, etc.
The Detroit Free Press reported:
Franklin’s body arrived at the museum in a 1940 white Cadillac LaSalle hearse as people lined the streets outside waiting to pay their respects to the Queen of Soul.
The body of the Queen of Soul was laid out in a gold casket. She was wearing a red, lace-trimmed ruffled suit and crimson satin pumps on the first of two days of public visitation at the museum.
Embroidered in golden thread in the lining of the casket were the words “Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul.”
The Detroit News reported:
First in line for the first of the two-day viewing was LaTonya McIntyre, 43. For McIntyre, her trek invovled the purchase of a plane ticket from Las Vegas, the flight, and a wait that started at 4 p.m. Monday.
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Detroit Free Press reporter Aleanna Siacon sent a string of updates from the viewing via Twitter. “Guests are walked past Aretha Franklin’s gold plates casket in the center of the atrium,” Siacon tweeted. “She is surrounded by bouquets of pink, white, lavender, gold and red roses and orchids.”
The memorial card given to visitors features a classic shot of Franklin with perfectly groomed brows and shades, judging you.
In tribute to Franklin’s “Freeway of Love,” there was a pink Cadillac on scene.
People sang and tried to sing, but there’s no one like Aretha.
Franklin’s funeral will be available to watch via live stream on Friday at 10 a.m. E.T. The scheduled speakers include Smokey Robinson, Clive Davis, and presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. There will be performances from artists the MTV VMAs apparently couldn’t get, including Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, and Faith Hill.