It was a celebration befitting a queen.
Bishop Charles Ellis III of Greater Grace knows well of the boldface guest list and surrounding pomp and circumstance, but he has a higher mission in mind for the service that may well exceed five hours.
Former President Bill Clinton was also on hand and sat in the front row with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Among her top hits, "Think" is the only one that she composed.
The Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., the pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., will deliver the eulogy, Franklin's publicist added. "Not without fear, but overcoming her fears", Clinton said of the "Respect" singer. She even went personally to the downtown post office.
Robinson, the Motown great, remembered first hearing Franklin play piano when he was just 8, and he remained close to her for the rest of her life. "God bless you, Aretha, we love you".
How did Aretha Franklin die?
Hudson brought mourners to their feet with a powerful rendition of "Amazing Grace".More news: Trump defends his public response to McCain's death: 'We had our disagreements'
More news: Williams wins first US Open match in two years
More news: Huawei unveils its new Kirin 980 mobile processor
Other performers came to know Aretha Franklin much more recently. "Because you are about to meet a lot of people who will now want to be your new best friend".
One wrote: "I'm sorry you had to do through something uncomfortable like that!"
"I'm sad today, because I'm losing my friend".
Friday's event also was laced with politics, social commentary and appeals to activism. Her friend Greg Mathis, the reality show host and retired MI judge, recalled his last conversation with her.
The Motor City is sending the Queen of Soul off in style.
"And you're going to be a featured voice in the choir of angels", he said. "We really celebrate because we really recognize that those we call the dearly departed, they wouldn't want for us to cry and be sad and sorrowful". Long lines, he said, for "the death of the icons and short lines for voting".
On the show, Grande recounted her memories of meeting Franklin, saying, "I met her a few times". I'm not sure. Maybe she meant she feels her pain. Sharpton asked the crowd to help him teach Trump the meaning of respect. They are scheduled to speak at Sen. They talked for hours at a time.
TSIOULCAS: And gospel music was the backbone and the heart of Aretha Franklin's homegoing service. Major networks set up outside, sending up live shots through the morning and carrying a livestream feed from inside the sanctuary. When the diva's family arrived, the song was "You Are The Source of My Strength".
Organizers told CNN the service was to touch on Franklin's significance to her friends, family and fans.