Unforgettable Moments From Aretha Franklin’s Funeral

“I just loved her,” he said.
Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush also wrote letters that were read during the service.
“She made important and lasting contributions to American music with her gospel-inspired style and distinctive voice,” Barbara Sampson read on Bush’s behalf.
Obama added in his letter: “Aretha lifted those of millions, empowering and inspiring the vulnerable, the downtrodden, and everyone who may have just needed a little love.”

Smokey Robinson’s touching goodbye

Saying goodbye to a person he called his “oldest friend,” Robinson’s very personal speech gave a glimpse into his relationship with his childhood friend.
“I know you’re celebrating with your family and our neighborhood friends who are all gone. And you’re going to be a featured voice in the choir of angels,” he said.
While not among the official list of performers, Robinson also sang a few bars from his ballad “Really Gonna Miss You,” visibly moving some of Franklin’s family members.
Filmmaker Tyler Perry, acting legend Cicely Tyson and music executive Clive Davis were also among the many speakers.

Standout performances

With a lineup that included Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, and Ariana Grande, Franklin’s funeral had enough heavy-hitters to populate the lineup for a music festival. Nothing less would be expected for a musical great’s celebration.
Wonder sang “As” after delivering a speech that emphasized the power of love.
“We need to make love great again,” Wonder said.

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Stevie Wonder: Make love great again

Stevie Wonder: Make love great again

Stevie Wonder: Make love great again

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