DETROIT — As Aretha Franklin was remembered at her funeral Friday as a proud black woman who also used her magnificent voice to stand up for the black community she loved, several speakers used the moment to continue to demand respect for black America.
Amid the gospel, personal reflections and grief were calls to register and turnout to vote in November and condemnation of President Donald Trump, who, upon her death, referred to Franklin as “someone who worked for me” — a comment that rankled many African-Americans.
“No — she used to perform for you,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said to cheers and applause from the crowd. “She worked for us. Aretha never took orders from nobody but God.”
Franklin’s civil rights legacy was mentioned often during the eight-hour service, and was tied to her faith and roots in the black church. Many also mentioned her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, and his civil rights leadership, which influenced his daughter from a young age.