Stevie Wonder Reflects on Aretha Franklin's Passing

Aretha Franklin signing her record contract with Atlantic Records in 1966 alongside her husband and manager Ted White and Jerry Wexler

The singer-songwriter began by telling the TV news show about his plans to collaborate on new music with Franklin, who died Thursday morning.

The late singer's family is reportedly planning a four-day celebration of Franklin's life, which will include a two-day public viewing at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and feature an open casket.

The National Portrait Gallery unveiled Friday a portrait of Aretha Franklin, which will have an honorary place in the gallery's "in memoriam" section through Wednesday.

A memorial concert is also in the works. "As Nicki Swift previously reported, pop star Ariana Grande belted out a handsome rendition of Franklin's hit song "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon on August 16.

She sang at the New Bethel Baptist Church, where her father was pastor, and organized the famous Walk to Freedom, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered an early version of his "I Have a Dream" speech to more than 100,000 marchers.


"It's just been unbelievable". Given 20 minutes' notice, she delivered a deathless version of Nessun dorma in his steadHENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP/Getty ImagesSinging Amazing Grace in Philadelphia in 2015. "So we're just so honoured".

His comments came after US President Donald Trump said Franklin was a person he "knew well".

"I find it disturbing and sad, and a reflection of his endless narcissism", said David Ritz, who spent years with Franklin seeking to understand the guarded performer for his 2014 biography, "Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin".

"You had a lot of famous visitors in this house, didn't you", he said. "It's really a statement about the unifying effect that music can have". "She worked for me on numerous occasions", Trump said to the press Thursday. "Through her compositions and umatched musicanship, Aretha helped define the American experience".

Ms Santostefano added: "Our intention was to honor the icon using a secondary image of her performing with Patti LaBelle in the full screen graphic, but the image of Ms. Franklin was obscured in that process, which we deeply regret". Aretha turned the song on its head, telling her partner and the world that she could be a breadwinner, too. She lived in a home in the city's suburbs until her death this week. Following some convincing from Questlove, she agreed to perform the song with The Roots. "Incredible what she did with the song, originally done by Otis Redding", Wonder said. In my country of origin, in the 1970s, "Respect" was my infallible litmus test for culling those with whom friendship was possible from those who didn't know who Aretha Franklin was, or who looked with distaste or condescension on her magisterial achievements, or who openly derided them as "jungle music".

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