Ariana Grande chose to say goodbye to the Queen with one of her classics. The singer took on Aretha Franklin’s hit (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, the 1967 song written by Carole King, that perfectly encapsulated the sheer power of Franklin’s voice and personality.
Franklin, who died recently at the age of 76 after battling pancreatic cancer, was honored with performances by Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia Barrino-Taylor, and Chaka Khan, among others, at her funeral at Detroit's Greater Grace Temple on Friday, while hundreds of fans lined the streets outside.
After her performance, the 25-year-old singer joined Bishop Charles Ellis III on stage. The pastor joked that, because of his age and unfamiliarity with Grande, when he saw her name on the program, "I thought that was something new at Taco Bell." The Boca Raton native couldn’t contain her laughter and hugged the bishop.
"Girl, let me give you all your respect," he said before asking the audience to give Grande another round of applause, as well as an ovation. "Thank you. We love you, Aretha," Grande added.
Hudson, who will play Franklin in an upcoming biopic, belted out Amazing Grace, Wonder performed The Lord's Prayer and Barrino wowed the audience with Precious Lord.
Franklin was also honored at A People’s Tribute to the Queen, a concert at Chene Park yesterday, which featured more than twenty musical performances, including the Four Tops, Johnny Gill and Ron Isley.
"There's no place in the world that knows how to send somebody home like Detroit, Michigan," film director and actor Tyler Perry told the crowd. "Aretha is looking down smiling."
The tickets, which were free, drew over 6,000 fans to the park. “I’m very happy that I’m here and I thank God that she was in my life,” said Kim Harton, 66, who grew up near Franklin in Detroit. “This is a blessing for me. This is a gift, and I’m overwhelmed.”