"When Aretha Franklin sang "Respect"... it was a demand for equality and freedom and a harbinger of feminism, carried by a voice that would accept nothing less".
They found Franklin in a polished bronze coffin and a sheer baby blue dress with matching shoes, a change from the bright red outfit seen on Tuesday across the world.
Fans from all over America lined the sidewalks surrounding the Charles H. Wright African American Museum, where the Queen of Soul's body will lie in repose for two days, ahead of a memorial and funeral in the city she called home. A private funeral will be held the next day at Detroit's Greater Grace Temple.
Ariana Grande has been added to the list of singers who are scheduled to perform at the funeral, CNN reported.
Franklin died August 16 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76.
"Aretha Franklin was not only the Queen of Soul but also a civil rights icon and a champion for all Americans" access to health care", said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins.
In the evening a free concert honoring Franklin's life is to kick off at 6pm at the Chene Park Amphitheatre, an outdoor riverfront arena in downtown Detroit that has 5,000 seats and 1,000 lawn spaces.
The gospel, soul and R&B star influenced generations of female singers from the late Whitney Houston to Beyonce with unforgettable hits including "Respect" (1967), "Natural Woman" (1968) and "I Say a Little Prayer" (1968). "I'm OK - I'm going to rest now, '" Mills said.
The funeral will open with a viewing featuring recorded songs by Franklin.
Museum board member Kelly Major Green said the goal was to create a dignified and respectful environment akin to a church, the place where Franklin got her start.
The music, she said, drew her in as it conveyed joy, pain and all things in between. "She was one of those people where no matter what you said, no matter what glowing, positive thing you said about her, it would be an understatement".