With over 100 pink Cadillacs parked outside to honor the late Franklin's love for the vehicle, Greater Grace Temple Pastor Charles Ellis first addressed the crowd to apologize for the late start. Shortly afterward, Faith Hill kicked off the performances with a rendition of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan later announced that he's proposing to rename Chene Park after the Queen of Soul.
"When performers from generations to come perform here, they will be reminded that they are performing in the home of the Queen of Soul," he said. Ariana Grande, who was added to the performance schedule last minute, recreated her Tonight Show performance of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" at the ceremony. Grande's fiancé, Pete Davidson, was in attendance and a petty cameraman reportedly cut to Grande's ex, Big Sean, during her performance.
But that's not all that captured the attention of tweeters, who called out Grande's attire as inappropriate.
Rev. Al Sharpton also shared some kind remarks about Franklin. "We don't all agree on everything, but we agree on Aretha. She fought for everybody," he said in a speech about Franklin's work in civil rights. He also shared a letter from the Obama family. "We join you in celebrating the life of the Queen of Soul," it read. Smokey Robinson later gave touching remarks about his "longest friend."
"I didn’t know that it would be this soon that I would have to say farewell to you...We talked about it many times, that we were the only two left, out of all our friends...I know you’re up there, celebrating with your family," he said before breaking into an acapella version of "Really Gonna Miss You."
The Franklin family were also given time to shine. Franklin's grandchildren, Victorie and Jordan Franklin, honored their grandma with memories of love.
"To know that she is a part of who I am, there's nothing like that," said Victorie. "I love you Grandma, and I will make you proud." Jordan added how the legend supported him and taught him about how to live with success.
Franklin's niece, Cristal, shared a more personal note on how Franklin took her to see Disney on Ice and sang at her high school graduation. Her nephew, Vaughn, ended with some hopeful words. "We’re not saying ‘goodbye,’ Auntie, but ‘farewell,’ until we see you again in our final resting place."
Franklin's son, Edward Franklin, then sang Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me." Franklin's niece, Sabrina Owens, then read the soul legend's obituary, which was followed by Alice McAllister Tillman's rendition of "Ava Maria" and Bishop Marvin Sapp's "Perfect Peace" with the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir.
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder also touched on how Franklin impacted his life. "I cannot ignore the sadness that I feel in saying goodbye to a woman I was privileged to know and who I long admired before I ever had a chance to meet her," he said. "Her voice became universal for all people."
Bill Clinton, who was introduced as “the first black President of the United States" by Bishop Ellis, recalled Franklin's autobiography and her dedication to putting other artists in the spotlight as well as her strength.
"She lived with courage," he said "Not without fear, but overcoming her fears. She lived with faith. Not without failure, but overcoming her failures. She lived with power. Not without weakness, but overcoming her weaknesses. I just loved her." He also recalled the last time he saw her at Elton John's AIDS fundraiser, which would be her last public singing performance. "She stood right up and said, ‘How you doing, baby?’ I said, ‘I’m doing better now.’ She said: ‘Look at me. I got thin again," he recalled, before playing Franklin's "Think" on the microphone through his phone.
Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Whoopi Goldberg, Tyler Perry, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Omarosa Manigault Newman, Jenifer Lewis, Jennifer Holliday, Martha Reeves, Cicely Tyson, Angie Stone, John Schneider, Renee Lawless, Aaron O'Connell, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Gov. Rick Snyder, Rep. Maxine Waters, Isiah Thomas, Tommy Hearns, Greg Kelser, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Louis Farrakhan are some of the many notables seen at Franklin's funeral.
Ronald Isley, Fantasia, Yolanda Adams, Shirley Caesar, the Clark Sisters, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, Marvin Sapp, the Williams Brothers, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Audrey DuBois Harris, Alice McAllister Tillman, Edward Franklin, and the Aretha Franklin Orchestra, and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir are slated to pay tribute to the legend at the ceremony among some of the singers listed above.
As the words projected on the church walls read, it's promised to be "A Celebration Fit for the Queen." Livestream it above.