Costume change for Aretha Franklin on second day of mourning
Mourners streamed in for a second day to pay their respects to Aretha Franklin, who was dressed in a different outfit for her final public viewing, as if making a costume change during a show.
Fans waited festively outside, then walked in a solemn, single-file line into the rotunda of Detroit’s Charles H Wright Museum of African American History.
They found Franklin in a polished bronze coffin and a sheer baby blue dress with matching shoes, a change from the bright red outfit seen on Tuesday across the world.
On the inside of the lid, embroidered into the fabric, read Aretha Franklin The Queen Of Soul.
The two-day viewing was part of a week of commemorations for the legend, who died on August 16 of pancreatic cancer. She was 76.
A marathon funeral with an all-star list of speakers and performers is scheduled for Friday.
Just as Franklin’s more than six decades of music wrought emotions out of her fans, so too did her viewing.
As they approached the coffin and heaping displays of roses, many people smiled, cried, crossed themselves, bowed their heads or blew kisses.
The strains of Franklin’s gospel recordings echoed in the airy space.
“I was pushed by … but a tear still came,” said Maggie Penn, 78, of Detroit.
The retired counsellor, who grew up in the same neighbourhood as Franklin and crossed paths with her in the pre-fame years, said she always appreciated that the singer remained rooted.
“She never forget from which she came,” Ms Penn said.
Gina Moorman attended Tuesday night’s sorority ceremony staged in Franklin’s honour at the museum and returned on Wednesday.
“I wasn’t even going to do it, but I wanted to see her again,” said Ms Moorman, 57, as she waited with hundreds of others in a line that snaked around to the back of the museum and beyond.
Ms Moorman did not know Franklin personally, but that did not seem to matter.
The music, she said, drew her in as it conveyed joy, pain and all things in between.
“She was intertwined in all of our lives,” she said, adding that her love for the singer “started with ‘Respect’.”
“We’re just feeling good about seeing the Queen.”
Franklin’s body was later transported from the museum, and a private viewing is scheduled for Thursday. The invitation-only funeral will be held on Friday at New Bethel Baptist Church.