Everyone from reverends and activists to entertainers and politicians, including former president Bill Clinton, gathered on Friday (Aug. 31) to say goodbye to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.
Aretha, who died on Aug. 16 at the age of 76, had her funeral play out like a who’s who of pop culture. Ariana Grande, Faith Hill, Jennifer Hudson and more filled the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit with hymns and covers of Aretha’s songs.
Bill Clinton did what he does best when he got up to remember Aretha in a touching speech. The former President began talking about being an Aretha Franklin groupie way before he became President or Hillary Secretary of State. For those who didn’t know the Grammy winner, former President Clinton described the type of person she was, calling her “the voice of generation, maybe the voice of the century.”
“This woman got us all here in these seats today. Not because she had this breathtaking talent, which she did, but because she lived with courage, not without fear but overcoming her fears. She lived with faith, not without failure but overcoming her failures. She lived with power, not without weakness but overcoming her weaknesses. I just loved her. So I started off as a groupie and then I said, ‘Oh my God, this woman who has sung for America,'” Bill told the crowd. “So I figured out, I think, that the secret of her greatness was that she took this massive talent and this perfect culture that raised her and decided to be the composer of her own life song. What a song it turned out to be.”