Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin peacefully died earlier this month at the age of 76, leaving behind her four sons, a niece and many loving fans. Her funeral will be held Friday morning, closing off a week of festivities meant to respect her.


As the iconic singer did not leave any guidelines behind, her family had to determine how to best honor and celebrate her memory. Speaking with CNN, Franklin’s niece Sabrina Owens discussed how her aunt deserved a top-tier ceremony. “We know that she would have wanted nothing but the best,” Owens explained. “She gave the best, she expected the best and she would want her fans to have the best.”


Detroit, Franklin’s hometown, has been paying respects to her all week. Since Tuesday, her body has been lying at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, adorned in red clothing as an homage to her honorary Delta Sigma Theta sorority. On Thursday, her body and the floral arrangements it’s surrounded by will be transported to the parish where her father previously served as a pastor for a four-hour viewing.

The “A People’s Tribute to the Queen” concert will happen at the Chene Park Detroit Amphitheater on Thursday evening, celebrating the industry she proudly worked in for six decades. Finally, a “star-studded funeral” focusing on her “gospel roots and her love of church” will cap off the week at 10 a.m. on Friday.

“Aretha’s angels” is the name for the group that has organized all of this, and it’s composed of some of Franklin’s friends, family and fans. According to Owens, they only had two weeks to plan these events and coordinate all of the different parties involved. “I know people think two weeks is a long time to arrange all this, but it’s really not with all that has to be done,” Owens said. “Two weeks seems like a lot of time, but you need that time in order to do this right.”

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Nevertheless, Franklin’s family has yet to adjust to her no longer being around. “We really haven’t not had much of an opportunity to have private moments,” Owens said. “I know the world lost the Queen, but her sons lost their mother, her nieces and nephews lost their aunt … we lost a family member and we haven’t had a chance to come together as a group to truly realize that we have lost one who loved us so much and was so loyal to us.”

However, while Owens does admit that it will be hard when all of the events are over and they can privately mourn, she believes Franklin’s memorials are being guided in the right direction. “We are being guided by the hand of God,” Owens said. “Guided by God and by Aretha Franklin.”

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