The Queen of Soul’s funeral takes place tomorrow in Detroit at the Greater Grace Temple. Thousands of fans have stepped out in tribute of the singer since her death on August 16, and a report by CNN indicates that the celebration of her life will continue on as she is laid to rest through a group of pink Cadillac owners.
A couple dozen of the famed cars are expected to line the streets of the city leading to the church, hailing from as far as Texas and Florida.
Franklin sang of the classic vehicle in her 1985 hit single “Freeway of Love,” crooning “we goin’ ridin’ on the freeway of love in my pink Cadillac.”
The incredible display has been organized by Crisette Ellis, the wife of Bishop Charles H. Ellis III. Bishop Ellis serves as a pastor at the Greater Grace Temple.
Although the convoy could be considered a tribute to that song, which won her her 12th Grammy, Crisette explained that it was more inspired by the way that police cars line the streets to honor their fallen comrades during their funerals.
“My husband said, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could have a sea of pink Cadillacs parked on Seven Mile Road to greet Ms. Aretha Franklin as she arrives?'”
At the time of her statement, approximately 130 Cadillacs were believed to have been headed to Detroit in time for the funeral.
Crisette is also a sales director for the cosmetics firm Mary Kay, a company that is known to hand out pink Cadillacs to its top employees.
Stuart Popp of Plymouth, Michigan, arrived in Detroit earlier in the week after being asked to participate in the funeral procession with his pink 1956 Cadillac Grand Seville. Plenty of Franklin’s fans stopped to take photos with the vehicle, taking time to sing “Freeway of Love.”
“This was way bigger than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “I was a fan of her music.”
The Cadillacs will start lining the streets outside the church before the service is set to start.
The Cadillac company was founded in Detroit in 1902. During the celebration of Franklin’s life, it was an ivory 1940 LaSalle, another of the company’s cars, that transported her body to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, where she lay in repose for two days for fans to view her body.
That same hearse transported Franklin’s father, civil rights figure the Rev. Clarence LaVaughn Franklin, and Rosa Parks.