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Aretha Franklin's Funeral Returns to Her Gospel Roots
A Detroit church swelled with gospel music on Friday for the funeral of Aretha Franklin, driving mourners to their feet to clap and sing ahead of tributes to the queen of soul by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and singer Stevie Wonder.
"Come on, this is a church service, lift your voice!" Bishop Charles Ellis III, the officiant, exhorted the congregation at the Greater Grace Temple, as the choir and orchestra swayed behind him. The crowd grew louder, its ranks bolstered by singers including Chaka Khan and Ariana Grande, who came to pay musical tribute to Franklin following her death on Aug. 16 at age 76.
Civil rights leaders Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were onstage to honor Franklin's contributions to the 1960s civil rights movement. Sharpton took to the pulpit to call her the soundtrack of the movement, with songs such as her signature 1967 hit "Respect.