But Friday's service featured those who knew and loved Franklin best, such as her childhood friend, singer Smokey Robinson, who took to the stage and spoke directly to her.
Lasting over seven hours, the memorial was both mournful and celebratory, with the crowd breaking into a spontaneous dance of praise at one point.
Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan Jennifer Hudson are among those paying tribute through music.
Singing a Franklin classic in front of the late icon's family and friends was no doubt a daunting task, but Grande handled it with grace, keeping her usual verbal gymnastics in check to deliver a handsome, faithful rendition.
"The reason that we are here today is because of love".
According to Knight, she and Franklin spent much of their historic careers together.
But others seized on Trump's comments and Franklin's message of dignity to speak to the present social and political climate. I'll miss you, my buddy.
"Our lovely waterfront jewel will be Aretha Franklin park and when performers from generations to come from around the world come here they will be reminded they are performing at the home of the "Queen of Soul", he said".
"I personally and sincerely apologise to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community", Ellis said.
Ice Cube responds to Del Mar Fairgrounds shooting
As is our special events protocol, substantial law enforcement and private security was on site in anticipation of the event. Gunfire rang out during the 10th and final televised horse race at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club on Sunday evening.
Speaking to the network, Gladys said: 'We shared the fact that we had the same disease'.
The Rev. Al Sharpton took a jab at President Trump on Friday - saying he needs a lesson in respect after referring to Aretha Franklin as someone "who used to work for me" immediately after her passing.
Obama was unable to attend the funeral, but sent a speech to be read to the mourners. "The author, just as many others have written about her talks about how private she kept her life". "She worked for us".
"Yeah, she had the voice of a generation, maybe the voice of the century... but she also worked for years when nobody was paying particular attention". She lived with power, not without weaknesses but overcoming her weaknesses. Having recently lost her mum, she belted out her first solo with the soulful singing for which she came to be known.
Her casket was carried to the church that also took Franklin's father, legendary minister C.L. Franklin, and civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks to their final resting places at Woodlawn Cemetery, where the singer will join them.
The singer, who is scheduled to perform at the ceremony, and the "Saturday Night Live" cast member entered Detroit's Greater Grace Temple smiling on Friday and posed for photos. And that's why we're all here. "But we agree on Aretha".
"I just loved her", he said, adding that he was honored to have met her later in life.
Though her records were played millions of times, she earned little in radio royalties from smashes like 1967's "Respect" because such payments go overwhelmingly to the song's author, not the performer.
"God bless you, Aretha".