Aretha Franklin's star-studded funeral gets underway

Obama Aretha Franklin

Franklin was honored with a star-studded Celebration of Life at Detroit's Greater Grace Temple, two weeks after her death on August 16.

They called her song "Respect" a "declaration from a strong confident woman who knows that she has everything". "She performed for you", Sharpton said of Franklin, who had sung at Trump-owned venues.

Among the singers and speakers, former USA president Bill Clinton, 72, took to the stage and paid tribute to Aretha in a moving speech.

Ariana Grande belted an Aretha Franklin standard at the Queen of Soul's homegoing in a black dress so short it got the social media choir going.

Friday's service, however, will feature those who knew and loved Franklin most, such as her childhood friend, singer Smokey Robinson, who talked to CNN soon after Franklin died about their life-long friendship.

She was awarded America's highest civilian honour by George W. Bush in 2005.

Massive crowds lined up outside the church, hoping for the chance to pay their respects and take their seats among the star-studded funeral-goers that included Franklin's fellow musicians, famous actors, athletes, religious leaders and a former US President.

The city has treated her death as the passing of royalty, with Franklin's body laying in repose in the Charles H Wright Museum of African American History's grand rotunda for two days of public visitation earlier this week.

Her casket was carried to the church that also took Franklin's father, legendary minister C.L. Franklin, and civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks to their final resting places at Woodlawn Cemetery, where the singer will join them.

"We started at as like Aretha groupies or something", Clinton, 72, said to laughs.

The service will reflect Franklin's strong gospel roots.

Both Clintons were longtime fans of Franklin's - and the former President had invited her to perform many times during his tenure in the White House.

Mayor Mike Duggan announced at the service that he meant to have the city's riverfront Chene Park renamed in Franklin's honour.

Robinson said he will just make it "personal", since he remained close with Franklin until the end.

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