Yesterday evening I listened to Aretha Franklin singing and I read about her life. Earlier, I’d come across interviews with various people talking about their association with Aretha. I enjoyed the interview where Carole King spoke about her writing the well-known song Natural Woman in collaboration with another. It’s at times like this that nostaglia takes over. Remembering those near and dear to us who are no more. Loved ones lost.
Last night. Actually this morning in the wee wee hours, I came across the full 8 hours of the celebration of her life. Her funeral – Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul.
Eight hours, I hear you gasp!
Yes. Actually. No.
The recording is 10 hours. Because there is the before and after.
I didn’t watch all but I watched quite a bit.
The full coverage is below.
A well put together legacy for her family.
The City of Detroit will honour her.
A concert arena to be in her name. A street too.
There were testimonials from many.
There were testimonials that went on too long.
Many preachers and celebrities who had their moment
To reflect on the person they knew as Aretha. Ms Franklin. The Queen.
She contributed on many political and humanitarian fronts.
For the people she represented.
She was a trailblazer.
We heard of her generosity. We were introduced to the lady she trusted to deliver personally her thousand dollar cheques to those she supported. She supported many.
We were introduced to her security team.
We were told how she valued people.
Aretha. A much loved woman.
Loved by so many around the globe.
Her voice so distinctive.
Her music and songs reach
Her words live through our lives.
Her words and music live through our loves.
For me the testamonials of note are from Aretha’s :
The boy she and her family ‘adopted’.
Her grandchildren and niece.Words spoken with respect. Words spoken from the heart. Words spoken with love. With deep emotion. Remembering the loving and giving woman lying before them. Remembering her words of wisdom. Her advice. Her love. Remembering her as her days came to an end.
She was laid to rest before them in a gold dress with gold shoes to match, in a casket fit for a queen.
I should have made a note of the times when the people I speak of spoke, on this 10-hour sojourn! I’ve included the video in this blog – it’s at the end, if you’d like to watch.
I mentioned the long-standing friend. Smokey Robinson. He first met her when she was eight, sitting and singing at her piano. Her family moved into his neighbourhood. They remained life long friends.
He sang to his friend, just his voice. No accompaniment. Now that Aretha has left the building, of all their childhood friends, only he remains.
Her neighbour. I don’t remember his name. Aretha came to live in his road. Theirs were the only two homes at the beginning. She would call him at 1 a.m. to help with some household thing or other. Then they would talk and she would play her piano, in her pyjamas, singing till the early hours. He and his wife knew her well. He said Aretha was the only woman his wife allowed him to visit at 1 a.m! She took them to many functions with her. His advice to the family … friends you didn’t know will find you. Investments you didn’t know you need will find you. Be aware. Come and talk to me if you need advice.
The boy Aretha and her family adopted. A man now. A professional player for the Pistons? I think it’s the Detroit football team. He spoke fondly and with emotion of Aretha and her family. How he was welcomed into their family. Taught the basics of independent living. How Aretha asked him to escort her to a function. How nervous he was. How she made him feel. Comfortable. Inclusive.
People came and went.
I can imagine an electrifying atmosphere.
A long day for many, not least the family.
Respect for a woman who, even loved so much
Was human and like all humans must have been infallible at times.
As all us humans are.
At the end of the day
The Natural Woman went
In a white limosine built specially for the occasion
Escorted by dozens of pink limos. Specially made for the occasion.
Her music moulded many relationships
Ups and downs.
Her music will be remembered
I end with a song with which I resonate, and I know so many women do.
In this version of Natural Women
The Queen of Soul is accompanied
By one of the song writers, Carole King
By divas – Celine, Gloria, Shania, Mariah.
Way to end!
There is no attempt to violate Copyright of these materials. I’m sharing and hope you enjoy.
This is Natural Woman by Aretha and Divas.
This is the FULL coverage of her funeral by Global News.