The Queen of Soul, who died on Aug. 16 from pancreatic cancer at the age of 76, is being honored for more than six hours with 18 performers and more than 15 speakers. Friday's funeral service is taking place at the 4,000-seat Greater Grace Temple, where a red carpet has been laid out.
At the altar of the church, an inscription reads: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." This is the name of Franklin's 1987 gospel album.
During the procession, 100 pink Cadillacs lined the street outside the church. The ceremony -- which is livestreaming -- was set to conclude at about 3:00 p.m. ET after a performance from Jennifer Holliday and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir, but the ceremony is running about an hour-and-a-half behind.
Franklin's casket arrived at the ceremony around 8:30 a.m. ET, and was carried in by six men in suits. She is being buried in a 24-karat gold-plated Promethean casket made of solid bronze, and the interior is finished with champagne velvet. Queen of Soul and her name are embroidered in the casket with gold metallic thread.
The ceremony began with a selection of Franklin's recorded songs, followed by a prayer and several readings.
Faith Hill was the first singer to perform, opting for a showstopping rendition of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." Clad in all black with silver jewelry, Hill had the crowd on their feet during her performance.
Next, Ariana Grande wowed the crowd with her rendition of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." Following her performance, Reverend Charles Ellis took the stage to thank Grande for her tribute and jokingly apologized for thinking she was a "new item on the Taco Bell menu" when he initially saw her name on the program.
The funeral will also include performances from Jennifer Hudson, who will play Franklin in an upcoming biopic, and the Queen of Soul's longtime friend, Stevie Wonder.
In addition to the 18 performances, the six-and-a-half hour service will feature speakers including former president Bill Clinton, who gave both a funny and heartfelt tribute to Franklin. Clinton made the audience laugh when he declared, "I was so glad when I got here...when the casket was still open, because I said, 'I wonder what my friend's got on today. I wanna see what the girl is carrying out."
To laughter and applause at Aretha Franklin's funeral, Bill Clinton says, "I was so glad when I get here...when the casket was still open, because I said, 'I wonder what my friend's got on today. I wanna see what the girl is carrying out.'" https://t.co/Yqxid1SMuZpic.twitter.com/6ZUhc5EtuO
He revealed that both he and his wife, Hillary Clinton were "groupies" of Franklin during their own college years and ended his tribute by playing Franklin's song, "Think," on his iPhone.
"We started out not as the president and the first lady, senator, secretary of state -- we started out as, like Aretha groupies, or something," former President Bill Clinton says, beginning remarks at Aretha Franklin's funeral https://t.co/UxVDmtsMTLpic.twitter.com/3qOrYJL1Rr
Tyler Perry, Cicely Tyson and Smokey Robinson are also slated to speak.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan spoke at the ceremony and announced that the city would be renaming Chene Park, where the music legend once performed, to Aretha Franklin Park. It was also declared that Franklin would get another street in Detroit.