Art & Entertainment, Culture, Feature Story

“A People’s Tribute to the Queen” Was a Beautiful Tribute Concert for Aretha Franklin

Last night, I attended the Aretha Franklin tribute concert “A People’s Tribute to the Queen” at Chene Park in Detroit. It was a beautiful tribute to the Queen of Soul and one I will never forget. On August 16, 2018, Aretha Franklin passed away from pancreatic cancer. She was 76.

To say the Aretha Franklin tribute concert was a good show is an understatement. The tribute to the Queen of Soul was beyond AMAZING! Chene Park did a phenomenal job planning and hosting the concert. Every artist who performed last night, from the singers to the band, put on a beautiful show to honor Ms. Franklin.

READ: A Final Goodbye to the Queen

All this week from Detroit and all over the world, people have been celebrating the life and music of Ms. Franklin. On Monday, a gospel concert was held in honor of Ms. Franklin at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, a public viewing was held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History where Ms. Franklin laid in repose in the rotunda of the museum. Fans from Michigan and all over the U.S. traveled to the museum to pay their respects.

On Thursday, New Bethel Baptist Church opened its doors to the public for the third public viewing of Ms. Franklin. The tribute concert was held later in the evening.

A People's Tribute for the Queen
Tasha Page-Lockhart sings “Amazing Grace” with The 25 Voices Choir at the tribute concert “A People’s Tribute for the Queen”.

Over 20 musical artists performed in “A People’s Tribute to the Queen”. The public was invited to the free event after securing their tickets online. Within 15 minutes, the tribute concert was sold out!

But the sold out concert didn’t stop fans from attending the concert. When I arrived at Chene Park, I saw many fans sitting and standing outside of the gates. Some brought lawn chairs to sit and listen to the show. Everyone wanted to be there to pay homage to the Queen!

The concert started around 6 p.m. with a jazz and blues set. An hour later, Ms. Franklin’s family took time to thank the fans, music artists, and everyone who took the time to offer condolences and honor their beloved Aretha.

Next up was a beautiful gospel music tribute to Ms. Franklin. Artists such as Kurt Carr, Tasha Page-Lockhart, and the 25 Voice Choir sang moving spiritual hymns. Aretha began her singing career in the church so it only seemed fitting to have a gospel set.

And let me tell you, when I say we had church last night at Chene Park, I mean it. WE HAD CHURCH! I found the praise and worship be very uplifting. I was on my feet waving my arms in the air with everyone else and giving the Lord praise. Oh, what a beautiful way to honor Ms. Franklin!

Tasha Page-Lockhart
Tasha Page-Lockhart sang beautifully at the Aretha Franklin tribute concert!

After the gospel music show, the R&B set began. Fans were up dancing and singing to Aretha’s famous hits like “Freeway of Love”, “Chain of Fools”, “Until You Come Back To Me”, and my favorite “Natural Woman”. Celebrities like actress Jenifer Lewis (Blackish), filmmaker Tyler Perry, and Judge Greg Mathis also made an appearance at the tribute concert and took some time to share their thoughts on their friendship with Ms. Franklin.

An All-Star Tribute followed the R&B special with performances by R&B singers as Keith Washington, Angie Stone, L.J. Reynolds, Raheem DaVaughn, Regina Belle, Johnny Gill, and the Four Tops. The show concluded with many of the singers and special guests singing everyone’s favorite anthem “Respect”.

Keith Washington "A People's Tribute to the Queen"
Keith Washington’s performance at the tribute concert was just beautiful!
Johnny Gill tribute concert for Aretha Franklin
Johnny Gill killed it with his performance honoring the Queen at the tribute concert for Aretha Franklin

It was such an honor to be at the tribute concert for Aretha Franklin. I had a wonderful time singing and dancing, sometimes even through tears. In an Instagram video, I had shared my feelings about what it was like watching the tribute concert. It was emotional, joyful, moving, and spiritual.

I was brought to tears many times while listening to Ms. Franklin’s family and close friends share their special memories of the Queen. I have always been a big fan of Aretha Franklin’s music so to be able to also honor the legendary Queen of Soul in this way was truly special.

Tyler Perry shared a few of his memories of his good friend Aretha Franklin.
A spiritual dance called “Mary Don’t You Weep” was performed at the tribute concert for Aretha Franklin.

I took many photographs of the concert. When I got home to look through my images, I just knew I was going to have a challenging time selecting my final photographs for a blog post. Therefore, I am going to share a second post featuring the photographs I took of the tribute concert. Stay tuned for that!

Special thanks to Chene Park Detroit for the opportunity to attend “A People’s Tribute to the Queen”! 

All photographs were taken by Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit.

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