Published: Thu, August 30, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Kristi Paul

Pink Cadillacs wanted for Aretha Franklin's funeral

Pink Cadillacs wanted for Aretha Franklin's funeral

Thousands of people are expected to bid her farewell at the Charles H. Wright Museum for African American History on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by an afternoon viewing at her father's New Bethel Baptist Church on Thursday, and a star-studded funeral on Friday.

Crowds gathered Tuesday to view the singer lying in repose inside the museum. Her casket, emblazoned in gold embroidery simply reads in cursive script: The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. Her sequined dress, pointed heels, lipstick and earrings were all a matching ruby red.

In the first hours, hundreds of people from multi-generations visited the public viewing with signs, Aretha T-shirts and more. The casket is surrounded by roses of varying colors.

Tammy Gibson, 49, of Chicago said she arrived about 5:30 a.m. She didn't put herself above anybody even though she was the Queen of Soul. He said he wanted to pay tribute to Franklin for her contributions to the civil rights movement. Franklin died August 16, of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76. Her jewelry was custom made for the occasion.

"Her music saved my life in 1997 when I was contemplating suicide", he said.

Paula Marie Seniors, an associate professor of Africana studies at Virginia Tech, said that the Detroit venue was perfectly suited. "But to have done her birthday party [a few years ago] and to stand there and watch her watch me sing - Don, I had to fight back the tears the whole time".

As the world continues to say goodbye to Franklin, who died of pancreatic cancer, the sadness still felt particularly heavy for Thimes, who launched the Mildred Thimes Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer in honor of her mother in 1997. "She touched so many people and it's just a blessing", he told Local 4 News.

The museum hosted a similar viewing for civil rights icon Rosa Parks after her 2005 death.

Franklin's funeral is due to take place on August 31, at 10am EST (12am AEST) when her body will be entombed at a family gravesite. The funeral itself will feature performances from a variety of soul singers, including Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, and more.

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