Aretha Franklin is being treated like the queen she is, as fans continue to pay their final respects to the legendary singer with public viewings in Detroit, Michigan.
On Wednesday, the second day of her public viewing, Franklin proved she’s forever glamorous with an outfit change. The late singer wore a powder blue sparkly dress with open-toed silver sparkling shoes, a change from Monday’s outfit when she was clad in Christian Louboutin red leather pumps and a lace red dress. Franklin is expected to have more outfit changes ahead of her funeral on Friday.
The number of flower arrangements opposite Franklin’s casket has also doubled on the second day of her viewing at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. And of course, the 24-karat gold casket is appropriate for Franklin’s incredible legacy. According to the Detroit Free Press, the casket is lined with champagne velvet and her name “Aretha Franklin” is embroidered in gold metallic thread with “Queen of Soul” beneath.
ET spoke to Bishop Charles H. Ellis, III, pastor of Greater Grace Temple, who will serve as officiant for Frankin’s funeral — with the Rev. Robert Smith, Jr., Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, as co-officiant — taking place on Friday. The service will be limited to family, friends, dignitaries and special guests and is set to be a star-studded affair. Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson — who’s playing Franklin in an upcoming biopic — are just two of the superstars singing at the funeral, and Oprah Winfrey, LeBron James and Whoopi Goldberg are all confirmed to attend.
Ellis told ET that the church — which seats 4,000 people — will be filled “wall to wall.” He also shared there will be 16 or 17 performances total, with a full choir of 120 singers opening. Hudson is closing the funeral with a performance of “Climbing Higher Mountains.”
“And I’ve said to the family that Ms. Franklin, she played to a full and packed house everywhere she went,” Ellis explains to ET’s Nischelle Turner. “This was her last presentation; it’s got to be wall to wall.”
“It’s wonderful to live your life that when you are no longer here — that individuals feel you made that great impression on them, you meant that much to them, that they will do anything they can to move heaven and earth just to get where you are just to pay respects,” he continues. “That’s an awesome thing.”
Ellis says the funeral will be a joyous celebration of the late singer’s life.
“There will be some laughing, some tears, some joy, some sorrow,” he shares. “I think there will be some up hands clapping and feet dancing. I think it’s going to be a very jubilant experience.”
“I think at the end of the day, I feel it is my task as an officiant to make sure that we maintain a spiritual encounter here,” he also tells ET. “Because at the end of the day, hearing the conclusion of the whole matter is regardless of how famous you are, regardless of how many lives you touched, regardless of how much money you have or how many GRAMMYs or gold records you’ve been able to achieve, we all can’t escape death, so at the end of the day, we have to make sure our life mattered and we did something that was pleasing to go in some sort of way.”
Franklin died on August 16 from pancreatic cancer. She was 76.