Stevie Wonder heads star line-up for Aretha Franklin funeral

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A memorial in memory of singer Aretha Franklin is seen outside New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. August 17, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson and country singer Faith Hill will sing at the funeral of Aretha Franklin in Detroit next week, her publicist said. 

They will be joined by R&B singers Chaka Khan, Ron Isley, Fantasia and Yolanda Adams at the funeral for the late Queen of Soul, publicist Gwendolyn Quinn said in a statement.

Franklin, 76, died last week of pancreatic cancer in her Detroit home. Her Aug. 31 funeral will be held at Detroit’s 4,000-seat Greater Grace Temple, which was the venue for the 2005 funeral of civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

The funeral will be limited to family, friends, dignitaries and special guests.

Thousands of members of the public are expected to pay their respects to Franklin during three days of viewing of her casket at Detroit’s Museum of African-American History, and at the New Bethel Baptist Church where a teenaged Franklin sang in the gospel choir.

The 18-time Grammy-winning singer of hits like “Chain of Fools” and “Respect” was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but grew up in Detroit and retained strong links to the city.

Her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, was a minister at the New Bethel Baptist Church for more than 30 years and Franklin honed her singing skills in the church choir.

Franklin’s second son, Edward Franklin, will also sing at the funeral, along with the Aretha Franklin Orchestra and the Aretha Franklin Choir, Quinn said.

Detroit news media on Thursday reported plans by Greater Grace Temple church leaders to bring in dozens of pink Cadillacs to line the streets for next Friday’s service. Franklin sang about cruising joyously in a pink Cadillac in her 1985 hit “Freeway of Love.”

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