During the opening hours of Aretha Franklin’s funeral at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, the Aretha Franklin Orchestra offered gentle, instrumental gospel soul music as VIPs and dignitaries including Diana Ross, Hillary and Bill Clinton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Tyler Perry, Patti LaBelle and dozens of others greeted friends and family.
The Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir filled the sanctuary with overwhelming power, moving through “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and classic spirituals that confirmed that hundreds of pitch-perfect gospel singers were in the house, both onstage and among the attendees.
With those opening acts, woe be the first soloist to take the microphone, as country superstar Faith Hill did after opening remarks. Backed by the orchestra and choir, Hill delivered an enthusiastic version of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Her inclusion sent an early signal that the late diva’s family was aiming for genre-transcending unification.
The first photo from the series, featuring the cast sitting around a kitchen table, appears to be low-drama, which is probably exactly what the network was hoping for, given the controversy surrounding the show.
Aretha Franklin’s funeral is underway in Detroit this morning, running more than an hour late even before the family had taken their seats, and you can watch it above as it unfolds almost certainly into the afternoon.
The Queen of Soul is wearing gold as family and friends gather at the traditional homegoing service, where hundreds have packed the pews at Greater Grace Temple.
Scheduled speakers include the Rev. Jesse Jackson and former President Bill Clinton and musical performances by Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande and more.
Alex Cohen, a veteran Los Angeles journalist who has given voice to California news for years, is leaving public radio station KPCC and joining Charter Communications’ Spectrum News, The Times has learned.
The 24-hour local news network is scheduled to launch in November, available to 1.5 million homes in greater Los Angeles that subscribe to Spectrum’s pay-TV service.
Although Cohen’s hire has not been officially announced yet, The Times obtained an email that Cohen sent to supporters Thursday morning confirming her career move to TV.
Actor Gérard Depardieu is denying a rape accusation by an actress a third his age, according to reports out Thursday.
The Paris prosecutors office said Thursday that it had opened a preliminary investigation into allegations of “rapes and sexual assaults” after the complaint was made Monday in southern Aix-en-Provence province, Agence France-Presse reported.
The 69-year-old is accused of raping the 22-year-old woman this month at one of his Paris residences, the BBC said, citing French radio. Her name has not been released. She’s reportedly also an author and knew the actor before the alleged crimes took place.