Aretha Franklin's Public Viewing Has Fans Coming Out In Droves

Aretha Franklin's Public Viewing Has Fans Coming Out In Droves

Aretha Franklin's Public Viewing Has Fans Coming Out In Droves

Aretha Franklin's life and musical legacy will be celebrated with a free concert at Detroit's Chene Park Amphitheatre on August 30.

Sixty-four-year Detroit resident Cheryl Matthews attended the viewing and says it was "fit for a Queen".

Fans strolled by the casket, some in tears; one woman blew a kiss to Franklin, who was surrounded by massive arrangements of roses of different hues. Franklin died surrounded by family and loved ones, from advanced pancreatic cancer.

To Ms Owens, the dress - with its ornamental elements and sheer netting fabric - looked like something Franklin would wear onstage and "something she would have selected for herself".

Tammy Gibson, 49, from Chicago, said she arrived at about 5.30am.

Franklin was dressed in red to symbolize her membership in the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

"I emulated her a lot and never had a chance to, as a little girl, sing for her - which is what I wanted to do when she would come to our home", Thimes told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh.

Paula Marie Seniors says the setting for the public viewings Tuesday and Wednesday couldn't be more fitting.

That sentiment was echoed among her hometown fans.

"I think it's incredibly significant - she is being honoured nearly like a queen at one of the most important black museums in the United States", said Seniors.

Aretha Franklin was an icon in gospel and pop music, the civil rights movement and in political circles. By 8 a.m., as many as 200 people were lined up outside. "I love her. Aretha Franklin, she always gives back".

It's hard to separate the singer from the city, so you better think that her town is saying farewell in royal fashion to its Queen of Soul, with a concert, public viewings and a funeral that's expected to be attended by at least one former president, civil rights leaders and many other musical luminaries.

Owens stressed that the viewing and other events could not happen without a group she calls "Aretha's angels".

"I sort of had pre-information that it was going down and [that Franklin's health] was getting worse, and it's just been really hard", said Thimes, whose late father, radio legend Lou "Fatha" Thimes, promoted a couple of Franklin's St. Louis concerts decades ago.

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