Aretha funeral to feature 130 pink cadillacs in tribute to hit Freeway of Love (2024)

A PARADE of pinkCadillacs will line up outside the church whereAretha Franklin's funeral will be held, in homage to her hit song 'Freeway of Love.'

More than 130 of the luxury motors will park up outside Greater Grace Temple todayin tribute to the tune which is an anthem for Detroit, known as Motor City.



The giant cars will honour the Queen of Soul's 1985 chart success which features the lyrics: "We're going riding on the freeway of love. In a pink Cadillac."

Mary Kay cosmetics boss Crisette Ellis came up with the idea after seeing the police lining up in their squad cars to honour fallen officers.

"My husband said, 'Wouldn't it be awesome if we could have a sea of pink Cadillacs parked on Seven Mile Road to greet Ms. Aretha Franklin as she arrives?' Ellis, who herself owns a luxurious pink Escalade, explained toNPR.

She then began searching for other pink 'Caddy' owners who would be up for joining in the amazing farewell procession.




"They're coming from everywhere," she revealed. "They are coming from as far as Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Florida; North Carolina; Maryland."

The hit songwill also be included in the musical tribute for the star tonight led by music director Kern Brantley who worked with Franklin as a bass player and a producer.

"Freeway of Love is like an anthem for us Detroiters," he explained. "[It] starts off with a Motown beat, and that's the pulse of the city."

The song - the video for which featured real car workers in Detroit factories - went on to bag Franklin her 12th Grammy Award, winning for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.


Aretha Franklin's funeral will feature a procession of 130 PINK CADILLACS in tribute to her hit song Freeway of Love

Aretha's body will actually be transportedin Rosa Parks' white Cadillac hearse from a Detroit museum before she is laid to rest today (Friday, August 31).

Loyal fans have been paying their final respects to the Queen of Soul as she lies in stateat Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

The star's bodywent on display on Tuesday as part of a week of commemorations for the legend, who died of pancreatic cancer on August 16.

For the first of the two-day public viewing, the star was dressed in ruby red heels and a matching dress with her legs crossed at the ankle. On the final day, she had been changed into asheer baby blue dress with matching shoes.




She has been lying in state in a glittering gold coffin which has the words"Aretha Franklin the Queen of Soul" embroidered into the fabric onthe inside of the lid.

Commemorations will continue tonight with a free public concert organised by her family called “A People’s Tribute to the Queen” atDetroit’s Chene Park Amphitheatre.

Tickets to the event, which will featuretributes and performances from R&B, all-star, jazz and gospel groups, sold out within minutes.

A private funeral will take place for the singer at the Greater Grace Temple, with an all-star list of speakers and performer, including Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, and Jennifer Hudson.



Following the service, she will then be laid to rest at the city's Woodlawn Cemetery.

Her body is expected to travel in the same hearse which transported her to the museum earlier this week.

The hearse has been used to carry her father Rev CL Franklin's body, funeral director O'Neil Swanson II told CNN.

He said the vehicle also transported the bodies of Rosa Parks in 2005 and Temptations singer David Ruffin in 1991.



Inside the Detroit museum where she lay in state she was surrounded by a spray of soft-pink and lavender-coloured roses.

The flowers were said to reflect her love for them and her propensity to send arrangements "in grand fashion".

And her legs were said to have been crossed at the ankles, to remember someone who was comfortable with being a strong woman.

On Tuesday, Franklinwore scarlet lip stick and ruby high heels and was dressed in red which was symbolic of her membership in the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, which fights for the rights of African American women.



Meanwhile its ornamental elements and sheer netting fabric paid homage to something she would wear onstage.

Sabrina Owens, Franklin's niece, who was among those organising the event, confirmed the dress was"something she would have selected for herself".

She said: "After all she gave to the world, I felt we needed to give her an appropriate send-off that would match her legacy.

"She loved the city of Detroit and the city of Detroit loved her."

Iconic singer Aretha Franklin's legendary hits

Aretha's soaring voice also poured out from loudspeakers outside the museum, stirring fans arriving to pay their respects to sway and sing along and others to weep.

Franklin died last week at the age of 76 from pancreatic cancer in Detroit, where she began her career as a child singing gospel in the New Bethel Baptist Church choir.

Hundreds of music lovers slept on the sidewalk overnight to ensure they were among the first to say a farewell to the global star.

Officials made mourners put away their cell phones before viewing Aretha and quickly ushered them along.


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

She came alone but made fast friends with others who sang and reminisced.

Growing up, Gibson said she heard Franklin's music "playing all the time" by her parents, who "told me to go to bed it's an adult party."

Outside the museum, she said: "I know people are sad, but it's just celebrating people dancing and singing her music."

Indeed, a group of women were singing 'Freeway of Love.'


Franklin had been a constant in Gibson's life.

"I saw the gold-plated casket it dawned on me: She's gone, but her legacy and her music will live on forever."

Multiple life-sized posters of her flanked the entrance and exit of the building - which was soon mobbed with fans.

Museum board member Kelly Major Green said the goal was to create a dignified and respectful environment akin to a church, the place where Aretha got her start.



“What we wanted to do is be reflective of the Queen,” Ms Green said.

“It’s beautiful. She’s beautiful.”

The high-heel scarlet shoes, in particular, show “The Queen of Soul is diva to the end,” Ms Green said.

“She is just iconic. The way she loved and treated individuals, and she always remained down to earth,” said Mary Jones, who wore an 'I love Aretha' t-shirt and made the four-hour drive from Ohio to pay her respects.

"It’s unreal that I’m going to get to say goodbye to her now. It’s amazing.”

The Wright Museum previously hosted a similar public viewing for civil rights icon Rosa Parks after her 2005 death.

Aretha sang at Parks’ funeral and the singer will be entombed in the same cemetery as Parks.



It has now emerged that the mega-star did not leave a will - despite having tens of millions stashed in the bank.

Court documents show the 'I Say a Little Prayer ' legend had no will at the time of her death, reports US entertainment website TMZ.

The singer's four sons - Clarence, Edward, Teddy White Jr. and Kecalf - will now share equally in her estimated $80m estate, in accordance with Michigan state law.



Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' (Original Version, 1967)





Aretha's funeral is due to take place at 10am Eastern Standard Time, which is 3pm in the UK, when her body will be entombed at a family grave site.

It will be held at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan and her body will be entombed at the Woodlawn Cemetery.

The funeral will seethe legendary artist's family and closest friends say goodbye to the singer in the private event.

Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Holliday, Jennifer Hudson and Yolanda Adam are set to perform at the service, according to CNN.

Others performing areFaith Hill, Chaka Khan, classical artist Audrey DuBois Harris, soprano Alice McAllister Tillman, Franklin's son Edward Franklin, the Aretha Franklin Orchestra and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir.





Soul Sista Aretha Franklin's children - including eldest son Clarence, born when she was 12

DULCIE PEARCE Respect charts Aretha Frankin's rise to the top but fails to do her justice

SOUL QUEEN Aretha Franklin grew up in 'sex circus', was pregnant at 12 but never found love

Music producer Clive Davis is also planning a tribute concert to honour the legend at New York City's Madison Square Garden in November.

The singer was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but moved to Detroit when she was five.Rolling Stone magazine recently named her the greatest singer of all time.

Aretha’s dazzling music career included classic songs (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and RESPECT.

The mum-of-four died surrounded by loved ones in the town where she grew up, publicist Gwendolyn Quinn announced.

Aretha Franklin's ex-husband Glynn Turman opens up about her final moments

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Aretha funeral to feature 130 pink cadillacs in tribute to hit Freeway of Love (2024)


Aretha funeral to feature 130 pink cadillacs in tribute to hit Freeway of Love? ›

The cars will pay tribute to the Queen of Soul's hit song Freeway Of Love. In a pink Cadillac. ' Crisette Ellis, an independent national sales director for Mary Kay Cosmetics, came up with the idea after she and her husband were inspired by police lining up in their cars for fallen officers.

Did Aretha Franklin change clothes during her funeral? ›

Detroit — Despite the hullabaloo over Aretha Franklin's rotating garb at her funeral, a family member said the clothing choices didn't involve a lot of planning. "It just happened," said Franklin's niece, Sabrina Owens. "It was just something that we didn't think about."

How many pink Cadillacs were at Aretha's funeral? ›

The story behind the 100 pink Cadillacs at Aretha Franklin's funeral.

Are Mary Kay cars really free? ›

Mary Kay uses lease terms for pink Cadillacs and other desirable vehicles as sales incentives. The car also acts as a visible sign of sales success. After return the cars are generally repainted to protect exclusivity. So while all the pink Cadillacs go to independent sales people, none are “given”.

How much do you have to sell in Mary Kay to get a car? ›

Earning the use of a Pink Cadillac requires you to build a team of at least 24 team members and then you & your team must sell $102,000 within 2 consecutive quarters. How do I start selling Mary Kay? I'll begin by assuming that you haven't already signed a new agreement with Mary Kay.

Was Aretha Franklin embalmed? ›

“There's a story about Julius Caesar going to see him and accidentally crumpling his nose off.” Indeed, even the efforts taken in embalming Ms. Franklin were a reflection of the period over which she ruled, fitting into a great tradition of skillful embalming at African-American funeral homes.

How many hours did Aretha Franklin funeral last? ›

2, 2005. The mother of the civil rights died on Oct. 24, 2005, in Detroit at age 92. Her funeral was scheduled for three hours but lasted more than seven hours.

What celebrity owns a pink Cadillac? ›

Elvis Presley's Pink Cadillac
Length227.4 in (5,776 mm)
Width79.8 in (2,027 mm)
Height62.1 in (1,577 mm)
Curb weight4,700–5,000 lb (2,132–2,268 kg)
14 more rows

Did Aretha Franklin sing a song about a pink Cadillac? ›

Aretha Franklin is sometimes mis-credited as a singer of "Pink Cadillac" as the imagery occurs in her 1985 comeback hit "Freeway of Love" with the same metaphoric sense as in the Springsteen original, the lyric being: "We're going riding on the freeway of love in my pink Cadillac".

Does Mary Kay still give out pink cars? ›

Since the Mary Kay Career Car Program's inception in 1969, more than 171,000 independent sales force members have qualified or re-qualified to earn the use of a Mary Kay Career Car. There are currently over 3,600 Career Cars on the road nationwide, including over 1,000 Pink Cadillacs.

Can you buy a Mary Kay pink Cadillac? ›

You can't go to a Cadillac dealer and buy a used vehicle that's painted Mary Kay pink. It's exclusive to Mary Kay,” says Ed Peper, vice president of General Motors Fleet. At the time of her death in 2001, Mary Kay Inc. had over 800,000 representatives working in 37 countries. The company has grown since then.

How to get a free Mary Kay car? ›

To qualify for a 2-year lease on a new Cadillac paid for by Mary Kay, a beauty consultant must reach the Grand Achiever level. Grand Achievers have a team of at least 12 consultants working for them and the team must earn a combined $18,000 in a four-month period for the company in order to qualify for the new Caddy.

How much do you have to sell in Mary Kay to stay active? ›

†An Independent Beauty Consultant is considered active with personal retail sales of $225 in wholesale Section 1 products and will remain active for two months following any month with this amount in sales.

How do you win a pink Mary Kay Cadillac? ›

There may not be many sales directors in your area. How much money do you have to make from Mary Kay before you get a pink car? Earning the use of a Pink Cadillac requires you to build a team of at least 24 team members and then you & your team must sell $102,000 within 2 consecutive quarters.

Can you really make money with Mary Kay? ›

It is unlikely you will make any money. It is very likely you will be manipulated into ordering more than you sold at any given time. Mary Kay is NOT a dual marketing plan, it is a multi-level marketing company that makes money for those at the top of the pyramid on the backs of women just like you.

What did Aretha Franklin do to make a change? ›

Throughout her life, Franklin was immersed and involved in the struggle for civil rights and women's rights. She provided money for civil rights groups, at times covering payroll, and performed at many benefits and protests. Aretha Franklin was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Did Aretha Franklin have a will when she died? ›

Franklin didn't have a formal, typewritten will. Instead, she jotted down her wishes on two handwritten wills — one dated in 2010 and another in 2014.

What clothes did Aretha Franklin wear? ›

And while she famously refused to step on an airplane for much of the second half of her life, Franklin reigned in looks that traveled the globe and decades: for example, her chic bohemian caftans in the '70s, and her showstopping fuchsia and powder blue gowns in the '80s.

How much did Aretha Franklin's funeral cost? ›

In the week she lay at rest in an open casket there were four high-fashion costume changes before she was finally changed into a full length gold dress to be laid to rest. Aretha's all-day funeral service, attended by a stellar list of celebrities, cost in excess of $320,000.

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