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Celebrities pay tribute to Aretha Franklin

Celebrities pay tribute to Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin attends the premiere of “Selma” at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 14, 2014, in New York City. (Photo credit: J Stone/Shutterstock)

Aretha Franklin was honored at a star-studded tribute concert.

A hoard of A-list celebrities, including Alicia Keys and Celine Dion, took the stage to pay homage to the late Franklin — who died last year at the age of 76 after a battle with pancreatic cancer — to relive the Queen of Soul’s biggest hits in a live tribute concert.

Certain family members, including her grandson who spoke at her funeral, attended the event, which was held in Los Angeles and hosted by filmmaker and actor Tyler Perry.

Jennifer Hudson, who will star in Franklin’s biopic, Respect, kicked off the tribute performing “Think” followed by Keys, 37, performing a duet of “Day Dreaming” with singer-songwriter SZA, who said she was “blessed” to be there.

Dion received a standing ovation for her rendition of “A Change is Gonna Come,” while Fantasia, Andra Day, Brandi Carlile and Alessia Cara came together to sing “Natural Woman.”

Common and Yolanda Adams performed “Young, Gifted and Black,” although the rapper inserted his own politically charged rap lyrics into the 1972 hit.

Smokey Robinson took a moment to remember the soul legend while on stage, adding: “She was a gifted songwriter, a fantastic musician and a great formidable activist. For me, she was my little sister who I loved so much. I still love her so much. But she’s gone home now to be with her father. I believe she has been reunited with her entire
immediate family.”

Other performers included Shirley Caesar, Kelly Clarkson, Chloe X Halle, H.E.R., John Legend and BeBe Winans.

The tribute was put on by the Recording Academy and music mogul Clive Davis, who  insisted that “there will never ever be another Aretha Franklin.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the tribute concert was held Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, and taped for broadcast on CBS in March.

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