WASHINGTON — Still a diva even in death, Aretha Franklin was wearing a different outfit when she arrived at the Detroit museum Wednesday morning for Day 2 of her public viewing.
This time the music legend was dressed in a powder blue dress and matching shoes. On Tuesday, she had donned a red cocktail dress and shiny red stilettos on her feet, which were crossed. Her niece, Sabrina Owens, told “Inside Edition” the red shoes were Christian Leboutins, the pricey designer shoes favored by celebrities. The color red was selected to symbolize her honorary membership in Delta Sigma Theta. The sorority held a private ceremony for the singer Tuesday night at the museum, as is the custom for the sorority.
Franklin’s casket — believed to be solid bronze covered by 24-carat gold — had arrived Wednesday morning at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in a 1940 white LaSalle hearse, just as it did on Tuesday. The same vehicle — owned by Swanson Funeral Home, which is handling all the arrangements — also carried civil rights icon Rosa Parks as well as Franklin’s father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, who was a fixture in Detroit.
Hundreds of fans of various ages and races waiting patiently in line for their turn to view the legendary singer’s body before she is laid to rest Friday. Many wore T-shirts with her image, or clutched photos or her favorite flower, a rose.
On Thursday, Franklin’s body will be on view at her late father’s church, New Bethel Baptist Church. A private funeral will be held the next day at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple. At least 20 performers are scheduled to participate, including Stevie Wonder, Shirley Caesar, Faith Hill and Ariana Grande. The scheduled speakers include former President Bill Clinton, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton.
The Word Network will broadcast the service, which begins at 10 a.m. EDT. The global religious network also will stream the funeral through its website.
“We are very appreciative to receive the support of The Word Network in ensuring that the ENTIRE celebration of life service for Ms. Aretha Franklin will be aired uninterrupted,” Bishop Charles Ellis III of the Greater Grace Temple said in a statement released Wednesday. “The Word Network will graciously provide a live feed to all other networks and broadcast carriers authorized by the Franklin family.”
Linda Swanson, the funeral home’s executive vice president, told the Detroit Free Press that the Queen of Soul will don multiple outfits leading up to her burial in Detroit’s Woodlawn Cemetery.
What the 18-time Grammy winner will be wearing each day is a “surprise,” Swanson said. She downplayed the singer’s multiple outfits, calling them “just natural changes in wardrobe that a queen would make.”