Clinton, Steve Wonder, others pay tributes to Aretha Franklin
Hillary And I Started Out As Aretha Groupies, Says Clinton
It was indeed a home going full of musical tributes and glowing reflections at the Greater Grace Temple, Detriot, for the late America ‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin. The funeral session capped off a four-day celebration of life of late American ‘Queen of Soul’, Aretha Franklin, who died this month at the age 76.
Among the big names that attended the funeral was former U.S President, Bill Clinton; former Attorney General, Eric Holder and Rev. Jesse Jackson as notable speakers. Others are Faith Hill, Ariana Grande, the Clark Sisters, the Williams Brothers, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Franklin’s son Edward, Alice McAllister Tillman, Audrey DuBois Harris, Shirley Caesar, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, Chaka Khan, Ron Isley, Fantasia, Bishop Paul Morton, Yolanda Adams, Bishop Marvin Sapp, Jennifer Hudson, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Holliday and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir, all gave a command performance.
Bill Clinton in his tribute praised the values and virtues Franklin lived by, saying he and the former U.S Secretary of State, Hillary, started out as Aretha groupies. He noted that the late music icon got her big break when they were getting out of college.
“We started out as Aretha groupies. It’s one thing I want to say to the people in the audience. She cared about broken people, people who were disappointed; people who didn’t succeed as much as she did,” he said.
The former U.S President had recruited Franklin to sing at numerous events during his tenure. He told the congregation that he was awe-struck while recently re-reading the singer’s autobiography.
In a brief summary of the singer’s musical evolution, spirituality and kindness to other musicians, Clinton playfully touched on her fashion sense, saying: “I was so happy when I got here and the casket was still open because I said, ‘I wonder what my friend’s got on today? I want to see what the girl is carrying out.”
“This woman got us all here in these seats today,” Clinton said. “Not because she had this breathtaking talent, which she did. Not because she grew up … at least a princess of soul because of her father, her mother, her relatives. But because she lived with courage – not without fear, but overcoming her fears. She lived with faith – not without failure, but overcoming her failures. She lived with power – not without weakness, but overcoming her weaknesses. I just loved her. She had the voice of generation, maybe the voice of a century.”
Concluding his speech, the former U.S President, put his phone to the microphone and played Franklin’s 1968 hit Think, which features Franklin singing about freedom.