Aretha Franklin’s funeral: Stars who’ll be there

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Bethany Minelle, entertainment reporter

The Queen of Soul will be laid to rest at Greater Grace Temple in her home town of Detroit on Friday.

With a career spanning six decades, and a musical influence that travelled the globe, the ceremony will draw influential figures from across the musical, political and celebrity world.

Stars including Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan will perform, and former president Bill Clinton and singer Smokey Robinson will speak at the service.

Aretha Franklin's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame   Aretha Franklin’s funeral: Stars who’ll be there skynews aretha franklin walk of fame 4392215

Here are some of the influential figures who are expected to attend the private ceremony to celebrate Franklin’s life.

Ariana Grande

Pop star Ariana Grande will sing at the funeral.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 02:  (EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE) Ariana Grande performs onstage during the 2018 iHeartRadio by AT&T at Banc of California Stadium on June 2, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)  Aretha Franklin’s funeral: Stars who’ll be there skynews ariana grande engaged 4334395

Franklin was said to be fond of the 25-year-old, who she met when they both performed at the White House in 2014.

Earlier this month Grande gave her rendition of (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman on The Tonight Show as a tribute to the Queen of Soul.

Stevie Wonder

The American singer and songwriter was a long-time friend of Franklin, and attended her father’s church in Detroit when he was a child.

Stevie Wonder  Aretha Franklin’s funeral: Stars who’ll be there 11428326 1 1 2048x1536 3431002

A song Wonder co-wrote and recorded in 1967 – Until You Come Back To Me – was later released by Franklin, becoming a massive hit.

Wonder, who visited Franklin at her home during her last few days, had been planning to collaborate on new music with the singer just months before her death.

Chaka Khan

The R&B artist called Franklin her “Queen, mentor and true friend”, and said she was heartbroken by her loss.

Chaka Khan was good friends with Prince, who dies in April  Aretha Franklin’s funeral: Stars who’ll be there 5985521238371fda88c291e821f6e7cb163c156d5da896648ee400b90926615e 3741658

The 65-year-old has credited Franklin as one of her key musical influences.

Khan – whose career has spanned five decades – is a ten time Grammy winner and has twice been nominated to enter the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Bill Clinton

A long-time friend of the singer, Franklin sang at both the former US president’s inaugurations.

Bill Clinton speaks onstage during the Fifth Annual Town & Country Philanthropy Summit on May 9, 2018 in New York City.  Aretha Franklin’s funeral: Stars who’ll be there skynews bill clinton former us president 4328096

Clinton was present at Franklin’s final performance last November at a benefit supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Clinton’s wife, politician Hillary is also expected to attend.

Faith Hill

One of the most successful country singers of all time, Faith Hill has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide.

Faith Hill  Aretha Franklin’s funeral: Stars who’ll be there skynews faith hill singer 4404742

Hill and her husband, fellow country singer Tim McGraw, frequently opened their 2017-18 Soul2Soul world tour with Franklin’s 1987 duet with George Michael – I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).

On hearing of Franklin’s death, Hill paid tribute, tweeting: “The choir of angels now have the greatest voice of all time”.

Smokey Robinson

The Motown legend grew up with Franklin in Detroit’s north end as a child.

Smokey Robinson  Aretha Franklin’s funeral: Stars who’ll be there skynews smokey robinson singer 4404746

The 78-year-old singer-songwriter, who had known her since she was around five years old, called her “my longest friend on earth”.

He told Good Morning America his relationship with her “almost had nothing to do with showbusiness”, praising her sense of humour and great cooking skills.

Jennifer Hudson

Actress and singer Jennifer Hudson gained fame after reaching the final of American idol in 2004.

Actresses Jennifer Hudson (L) and Kristin Chenoweth take part in the Hairspray Live! panel discussion during the NBCUniversal portion of the 2016 Television Critics Association Summer Tour in Beverly Hills  Aretha Franklin’s funeral: Stars who’ll be there 520dc1e672d38e23a8f918cf29a09e1f0dcd1b9bed0d85e9a7ee74584f491bb3 3756823

The 36-year-old went on to win an Oscar for her performance in 2006 film Dreamgirls, starring alongside Beyonce, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy.

Her manager, Clive Davis – who previously managed Franklin – has said Hudson was handpicked to play the Queen of Soul in an in-development biopic by the singer herself.

Reverend Jesse Jackson

The civil rights activist eulogized Franklin at a service at the New Bethel Baptist Church following her death, praising the singer for her service to the civil rights cause.

Reverend Jesse Jackson has called for Confederate monuments to be removed  Aretha Franklin’s funeral: Stars who’ll be there 8f5e749494870502c33879c1ec9730d0483fa11a127a2af747d13613fb3d5b49 4075472

He described Franklin raising money for civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr when he was facing bankruptcy.

Jackson visited Franklin at her home just days before her death.

Fantasia Barrino

The American Idol winner sang at a tribute concert for Franklin in 2007.

Fantasia Barrino  Aretha Franklin’s funeral: Stars who’ll be there skynews fantasia barrino singer 4404743

She described being “stupid nervous” on meeting the star as she was one of her biggest influences.

The Grammy winning 34-year-old told Billboard: “My first cassette was Aretha Franklin.”

Cicely Tyson

Multi-award-winning actress and former model Cicely Tyson, 93, has received a host of acting plaudits throughout her seven-decade career.

Cicely Tyson  Aretha Franklin’s funeral: Stars who’ll be there skynews cicely tyson actress 4404741

The former wife of Jazz musician Miles Davis, she was awarded the Presidential Medal Of Freedom in 2016.

The Help actress is understood to be speaking at the funeral.

Jennifer Holliday

Grammy and Tony award-winning singer and actress Jennifer Holliday started her career in Broadway before achieving recording success.

Jennifer Holliday   Aretha Franklin’s funeral: Stars who’ll be there skynews jennifer holliday singer 4404744

She is best known for her Dreamgirls hit And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.

The 57-year-old went on to appear in US sitcom Ally McBeal, playing a choir master.

Yolanda Adams

Gospel singer and former radio host Yolanda Adams has been called the “Queen of contemporary gospel music”.

First lady Michelle Obama speaks to school and college students as singers Yolanda Adams and Michelle Williams listen in the State Dining Room of the White House  Aretha Franklin’s funeral: Stars who’ll be there d8cb563d9ef99870771c3adcf8e313db23e30ddf80e2256236b807d1b20adedf 3814062

Originally trained as a teacher, she has sold millions of albums across the US.

In 2009, Billboard named her the most important gospel artist of the last decade.

Other performers expected to attend:

:: Ronald Isley
:: Shirley Caesar
:: Tasha Cobbs-Leonard
:: Marvin Sapp
:: The Clark Sisters
:: The Williams Brothers
:: Vanessa Bell Armstrong
:: Classical artist Audrey DuBois Harris
:: Soprano Alice McAllister Tillman
:: Record producer Clive Davis
:: The Aretha Franklin Orchestra and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir will also perform.

More from Aretha Franklin

The eulogy will be delivered by the Reverend Jasper Williams Jr, pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Atlanta.

The funeral is due to begin on Friday at 10am US time (3pm UK time).





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