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Detroit vows to give back to Aretha

HOMETOWN HERO: Aretha Franklin

DETROIT, THE city where Aretha Franklin grew up, has been paying tribute to one of its most famous daughters.

To the rest of the world, she was the “Queen of Soul”. But to Detroiters she was simply known as “Aretha” or “Ree-Ree”.

Last week, city landmarks like Cobo Hall and the Fox Theatre were lit up in her honour. At the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, a digital display read: “Forever Our Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin 1942 - 2018.”

Franklin’s final performance in the city was there last year. Last week, her family announced plans to hold an open casket memorial in the city. It will be held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement: “From the time her father gave Aretha her start in the New Bethel choir, it was clear to everyone how special she was. She was
a performer without peers.

"Throughout her extraordinary life and career, she earned the love – and yes, the respect – of millions of people, not just for herself and for women everywhere, but for the city she loved so dearly and called home.”

Franklin often sang at the Baptist church her father once led or at charity functions. The singer wrote in her 1999 autobiography, Aretha: From These Roots: “Detroiters realise how deeply I appreciate the city in which I was raised.

"And it is in Detroit that I continue to cultivate my career; it is to Detroit that I direct most of my charitable activities; and it is from Detroit that I receive much love and support, which I reciprocate.”

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