Like many of you, on the morning of August 31, 2018 I settled myself at my desk—iPad in one corner, ear pods secured—to embark on the emotional journey we would all take as the world prepared to lay the great Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin to rest.
From the moment the cameras began to roll, and guest began to file in, it became reminiscent of the homecoming services I’d attended in the past. The sound of the organ playing while loved ones greeted each other through hugs, tears and the chatter of memories, quickly reminded us of the untouchable legacy of Ms. Aretha.
She laid decked out in her best fashion, a red dress with matching pumps accented by a gold casket—a diva in both life and death.
The service began. The choir’s powerful voice erupted in song as the Pastor made the necessary announcements and the final guest made their way to their seats. The immediate family was soon to arrive. It did not take long before each and every spectator, both through various media outlets and in person, were immediately brought to church.
Whether it was Fantasia’s inhibition to step out of her shoes or the classic sounds of “shouting music” followed by coordinated holy dancing, there is something powerful about a good old fashion home going service.
There is the pastor who always shares a little much, the storytelling that often takes far longer than the allotted 3-4 minutes and that one speaker who leaves you chuckling behind the flow of tears offering a much needed reprieve from the intensity of the moment.
Despite the number of people filling the Detroit mega church, this did not feel like a celebrity funeral but rather the funeral of everyone’s favorite auntie, loved by many and instantly touching the hearts of those who encountered her out spoken spirit.
As I wiped away tears in between client calls and case notes, I admired the poise of her family, clearly destine to continue in her impactful footsteps. Ms. franklin’s legacy will continue to flourish as she struts onto the stage of the pearly gates, grabs the mic and snatches off that hair piece in classic Aretha style.
There are few people in society who leave us feeling as though we are not far removed from their greatness. Ms. Franklin was dubbed the queen and wore her crown well.
May the Queen’s soul rest and may her family find comfort knowing that their mother, grandmother, aunt, and sister left this world just as dynamically as she entered. All hail, the Queen.