Ariana Grande gave a moving tribute to Aretha Franklin at her funeral
On August 16, music icon and 'queen of soul' Aretha Franklin passed away at the age of 76. Franklin was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, won 18 Grammy Awards and sold a stunning 75 million records worldwide. After battling pancreatic cancer since 2010, the legendary singer passed away in her home city of Detroit, Michigan, surrounded by friends and family.
"In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart," Franklin's family said in a statement. "We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family." In the wake of her death, many celebrities also came forward to pay tribute to the influential woman.
"It's difficult to conceive of a world without her," Barbra Streisand wrote on Twitter. "Not only was she a uniquely brilliant singer, but her committment to civil rights made an endelible impact on the world." John Legend called her "the greatest vocalist I've ever known," and Elton John wrote that he "adored her and worshipped her talent".
Barack Obama also issued a statement in tribute of the singer. "Aretha helped define the American experience," he wrote. "In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect."
Ariana Grande also paid tribute to the woman, first on social media when she heard the news. She posted a video of Aretha performing 'I Say a Little Prayer', and also a photo of her one of the times she met the legend.
On Friday, celebrities, loved ones and fans gathered for Franklin's funeral held at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit. Grande was one of those in attendance, and performed a moving tribute to Aretha, who she had met several times. You can watch her performance of '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman' below:
She also performed the same song earlier this month, when she appeared to promote her new album on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon - where she was backed up by The Roots.
"I met her a few times, we sang at the White House and she was so sweet, she was so cute," Ariana told Fallon. "It's an honour to have met her."
Back in 2015, Aretha appeared on SiriusXM, where she teased the idea of one day collaborating with Grande. "I think Ariana and I are gonna duet," Aretha said. "You like that? I think we have a hot duo going."
Unfortunately, this collaboration never came to pass, but it's more than fitting that Ariana got to perform during Grande's funeral, paying tribute to the legendary singer in her own way. Our thoughts are with Franklin's family and loved ones during this difficult time.