Loved ones pay tribute beautifully to Aretha Franklin: 'She was aware that her final days were near'

Aretha Franklin’s funeral has been a star-studded event, but one of the highlights of her service has been her family’s tribute to her life — not only as the Queen of Soul but also as a loved one.

The crowd became quiet when Franklin’s granddaughter Victorie Franklin, grandson Jordan Franklin, niece Cristal Franklin, and nephew Vaughn Franklin took the stage at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit on Friday. And with their poise and eloquence, just like Queen Aretha, they did not disappoint.

Victorie was first to speak, setting the bar high with her ease and composure at the podium. She started by sharing what it was like to have a legend for grandmother. “I remember when I was a kid people used to always ask me, ‘What does it feel like to be Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter?’ I would always shrug my shoulders and go, ‘I don’t know. It’s just my grandma,’” she said.

The Howard University student said that watching her grandmother sing was the best feeling in the world. “Nothing sounded better to me than the way my grandma sings. Her voice made you feel something. … Her voice brought peace.”

Jordan Franklin, left, pauses alongside his sister Victorie Franklin while speaking about their grandmother, Aretha Franklin, during the funeral service for the legendary singer at Greater Grace Temple, Aug. 31, 2018, in Detroit. (Photo: AP/Paul Sancya)

Victorie was proud to call Franklin her grandmother. “It feels amazing to see a woman so fierce, so courageous, gifted, so respected, and to be able to call that my grandmother, to know that I have that running through my blood and that she’s a part of who I am.” She concluded by promising to live up to that. “I love you, Grandma, and I will make you proud.”

Next was Franklin’s grandson Jordan. “I know in my heart that you’re happy now, and that’s all that I care about,” he began. He thanked his grandmother for loving him, believing in him, putting the family first, and teaching them the “right way to handle success.”

“I’m sad today because I’m losing my friend,” he said before choking up, which prompted his relatives to come to his side to console him. “Long live the queen,” he concluded his remarks.

He was followed by Franklin’s niece Cristal. She began by thanking everyone who loved and supported her aunt. She explained that to everyone, Aretha was the Queen of Soul, but to her, she was just her aunt. “My aunt who sung at my high school graduation, taught me my bad shopping habits … my aunt who taught me that emeralds were worth more than diamonds … the one who listened to me when I told her she had to have Jill Scott and Mary J. on her diva special and she had to go on Wendy,” she recalled. “The one who brought grown women and men to tears with the sound of her voice.” She noted that her daughter Brooklyn is now graduating from Howard University this year, “and it’s all possible because of my aunt.”

Last was her nephew Vaughn, whose calm voice comforted the mourning crowd. He called Franklin the matriarch and pillar of the Franklin family and shared that his aunt loved him like a son after the death of his parents.

He recalled one of his last visits with his aunt in July, when she paused in the middle of a conversation and asked him, “What do you think?” “I knew what she was talking about, but how do you find the words to tell someone that you love so much that you can see her health and her physical stature decline each time that you saw her?” he asked. “At that moment, I knew and understood that she was aware that her final days were near.”

Throughout the four speeches, viewers took to Twitter to talk about how impressive the family speakers were, especially the grandkids, for being able to honor Franklin so beautifully.

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