After two days of public viewing (featuring a costume change and a gold casket, no less), today was the day everyone gathered and honored the life of the Queen of Soul at her funeral. But of course a legendary diva like Aretha didn’t go out with a couple eulogies and pastor-led rendition of “Amazing Grace” before a lunch of sandwiches in the church hall. That gold casket should have been your first and only clue needed to know Aretha would absolutely going out like a legend in an all-day, star-packed memorial service.
Not long after Aretha passed, it was said she would have a private funeral for friends and family, and her family promised there would be “singing…lots of singing.” They weren’t kidding. The line-up was like a VH1 special called Aretha’s Favorite Divas Live. Starting at 10am at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Aretha was eulogized by Bill Clinton, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Smokey Robinson, Reverend Jesse Jackson, and former Detroit Pistons point guard Isiah Thomas. Gladys Knight was also there and she told reporters she and Aretha had the same disease, and many thought she was talking about pancreatic cancer. But Gladys’ rep says something was misinterpreted and she doesn’t have pancreatic cancer.
As for the singing, there was Faith Hill, who performed “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” while backed by a gospel choir. Faith gave you pastor’s wife absolutely feeling it during her first solo.
American gospel group The Clark Sisters brought it with a performance of “Is My Living In Vain.”
Chaka Khan showed up with a gorgeous fan fan to perform “Going Up Yonder.”
Aretha was also given another send-off by Ariana Grande. Ariana showed up with her fiancé Pete Davidson, who finally was seen wearing something not made of sweatpants material.
— Local 4 WDIV Detroit (@Local4News) August 31, 2018
Pete also got to meet the star of one of his favorite tattoos, Hillary Clinton. But it wasn’t all about Pete. Ariana performed “You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” That was a surprise for Bishop Charles H. Ellis III, who thought Aretha’s family had arranged a mid-funeral run for the border. Honestly, a chalupa buffet would have taken this funeral from great to perfect.
He thought Ariana Grande was something at Taco Bell.. I CHOKEDDD pic.twitter.com/3dHvCNpNb9
— Team Ariana (@TeamGrandeSA) August 31, 2018
Obviously no one can do it like Aretha. Still, I’m sure Aretha appreciated the effort brought forth by the tiny ponytailed one. But I want to believe that no matter how much Aretha loved the performances, she still got in a comment or two. Like when Aretha watched and thought, “Great gown, beautiful gown…but honey, where’s the rest of it?!”