Ariana Grande performs during the funeral service for Aretha Franklin at Greater Grace Temple, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, in Detroit. Franklin died Aug. 16, 2018 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Latest: Ariana Grande sings at Aretha Franklin service

August 31, 2018 - 11:48 am

DETROIT (AP) — The Latest on the funeral for soul legend Aretha Franklin (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

Ariana Grande and the Rev. Al Sharpton have memorialized Aretha Franklin in words and song.

Sharpton recalled Franklin's activist side, noting she raised money for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and created "the soundtrack of the civil rights movement."

"She gave us pride. She gave us a regal bar to reach," Sharpton said. "She represented the best in our community."

Sharpton also took a swipe at President Donald Trump for saying that Franklin once worked for him. "She performed for you," he said. "She worked for us."

Earlier, Ariana Grande sang "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman."

Bishop Charles H. Ellis said after the song that he felt old because when he saw "Ariana Grande on the program, I thought it was a new something at Taco Bell," but said he now owed her some respect.


12:15 p.m.

Faith Hill honored Aretha Franklin by singing "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" during the Queen of Soul's funeral.

Hill's performance got Bill Clinton, the Rev. Jess Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton up on their feet. Many in the audience of the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit also stood as Hill belted out the hymn.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan also took to the podium to announce a proposal to rename the city's waterfront Chene Park after Franklin.

The mayor said: "When Aretha Franklin sang, it sounded like the voice of Detroit."


11:50 a.m.

Aretha Franklin's body has been covered in shimmering fabric and her casket has been closed, with shouts of, "Hallelujah!" coming from the audience.

Family members surrounded the Queen of Soul's gold casket as it closed on Friday morning, marking the formal start of her funeral.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson comforted actress Cicely Tyson and Franklin's family members comforted one another.

Bishop Charles H. Ellis of Greater Grace Temple in Detroit began speaking nearly two hours after the ceremony had been slated to begin.

The church's choir sang "Walk in the Light" as Ellis encouraged the congregation to sing along.

Ellis said, "It took a little time to get in here, but I believe the queen wouldn't have had it any other way." He said everyone present would get a program, and joked they were likely to be available soon on eBay.


11:15 a.m.

The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin has been honored at London's Buckingham Palace on the day of her funeral in Detroit.

The official residence of Queen Elizabeth II became an unlikely setting for a rendition of Franklin's "Respect" played by the Welsh Guards Band during the popular Changing of the Guard ceremony Friday.

The soul music may have startled tourists expecting British pomp and ceremony Friday from the Welsh Guards, who were wearing traditional red military jackets topped by high bearskin hats.

The Army tweeted that it wanted to pay tribute to a "musical icon and inspiration."


11 a.m.

The Queen of Soul's funeral is underway. 

A processional of Aretha Franklin's family and other loved ones is filling the aisles of the Greater Grace Temple on Friday morning in her hometown of Detroit. 

The church's choir sang Franklin's "Say a Little Prayer" and her version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as mourners arrived. When the diva's family arrived, the song was "You Are The Source of My Strength."

They filed past and paid their respects at Franklin's open casket, where they saw her wearing a sparkling full-length gold dress with sequined heels — her fourth and final outfit of the week. 

Many in the pews ignored repeated calls of no phones permitted to take selfies with former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton as they filed in. 


10:40 a.m.

Ariana Grande and her fiance, Pete Davidson, walked arm-in-arm and chatted with dignitaries like Bill Clinton before the funeral for Aretha Franklin.

The singer, who is scheduled to perform at the ceremony, and the "Saturday Night Live" cast member entered Detroit's Greater Grace Temple smiling on Friday and posed for photos. They even shared a brief kiss on the stage.

Others from the world of show biz seen in the church included Jennifer Hudson, Faith Hill, Tyler Perry and Jenifer Lewis.

The start of the service — intended to begin at 10 a.m. — was delayed. Franklin's white hearse arrived more than two hours before the service was scheduled to start.


10:15 a.m.

In the moments before Aretha Franklin's funeral, dignitaries filled Detroit's Greater Grace Temple.

Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Tyler Perry, Whoppi Goldberg, Stevie Wonder, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Faith Hill, T.D. Jakes, Jennifer Holliday, Jesse Jackson, Omarosa Manigault Newman, Rep. Maxine Waters, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan were all spotted.

Floral arrangements from such singers as Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett and from the family of Otis Redding were set up in a hallway outside the sanctuary.

Other bouquets were sent from the Jackson family, the Dance Theater of Harlem, the Whispers, Atlantic Records, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Ray Charles, Tom Joyner, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Don King, and Diana Ross.

Franklin's white hearse arrived more than two hours before the service was scheduled to start.


8:45 a.m.

Aretha Franklin is dressed in a sparkling full-length gold dress with sequined heels for her final outfit.

Mourners got a glimpse of the Queen of Soul before her funeral Friday during an open casket viewing at the Greater Grace Temple. The gold dress is the fourth outfit Franklin has worn during a week of events leading up to her funeral.

Franklin was dressed head to heel in red for her first public viewing on Tuesday, a nod to her membership in the sorority Delta Sigma Theta. She wore a baby blue dress on Wednesday and a rose gold gown for a viewing Thursday at the Detroit church where her father was the longtime pastor.

Numerous floral arrangements from celebrities including Sam Moore, Mariah Carey, Barbra Streisand and the family of Otis Redding were set up in a hallwayoutside the sanctuary.

Moore's arrangement included a card that read, "You know I always adored and loved you to bits and pieces ... Even when we would fuss."


8 a.m.

Aretha Franklin's body has arrived at a Detroit church where her funeral is being held Friday.

Franklin's white hearse arrived more than two hours before the service is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Fans have been lined up for hours outside the Greater Grace Temple awaiting the chance to attend the service, which will feature performances by Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson and speeches by former President Bill Clinton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Smokey Robinson.

Among those honoring Franklin Friday are about two dozen owners of Pink Cadillacs who arrived at the church early Friday. The tribute is a nod to Franklin's funky '80s tune, "Freeway of Love," which prominently featured the car in the lyrics and video.


12 a.m.

Organizers of Aretha Franklin's funeral insist it will be a spirit-filled service, not a show. Yet there's no denying the star-power attending the Queen of Soul's final send-off.

The speakers at Friday's invitation-only funeral at Detroit's Greater Grace Temple include former President Bill Clinton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Smokey Robinson. Singers include Steve Wonder, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Faith Hill and Chaka Khan.

Greater Grace's Bishop Charles Ellis III says he wants all — even the famous — to leave with a "spiritual awakening."

Still, the get-down and uplift can certainly coexist.

Another performer, gospel artist Marvin Sapp, expects "an eye-opening experience." He adds the "dearly departed" want a celebration to mark their transition "from this life to a better one."

Franklin died Aug. 16 of pancreatic cancer at 76.

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