David Redfern/RedfernsAhead of Aretha Franklin’s “Celebration of Life” this morning at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michael Bivins of New Edition and Bell Biv DeVoe is among the many stars paying tribute to The Queen of Soul.
Bivins was born in 1968, the year Aretha released her Lady Soul album, which featured her classics “Chain of Fools” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” The 50-year old singer/rapper says he admired the fact that Aretha was a trailblazer who showed women they didn’t have to live by the rules society imposed upon them.
“She put hope in women,” Bivins tells ABC Radio, “and she allowed those women to not feel like they had to conform to the picture — the picture had to conform to them.” (AUDIO IS ABC 1-ON-1)
As previously reported, former President Bill Clinton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Smokey Robinson and Cicely Tyson will be among the speakers at the service, which will begin at 10 a.m. ET.
The list of speakers also includes Sony Music Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Clive Davis, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
Stevie Wonder, Ronald Isley, Chaka Khan, Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia lead the list of performers.
Hudson, who Aretha picked to star in her upcoming biopic, will perform “Amazing Grace,” according to TMZ. Franklin recorded the song as the title tune of her 1972 live album.
Wonder will reportedly sing “The Lord’s Prayer,” which Aretha recorded for her 1987 One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism album.
Yolanda Adams, Pastor Shirley Caesar, The Clark Sisters, Jennifer Holliday, and Aretha’s son Edward Franklin will also sing at the service, which will be broadcast live on television and streamed online.
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