Triangle’s Gospel Icon Shines at Shirley Caesar Fun*ral!
A pastor from Durham and Gospel Queen Shirley Caesar was close friends with Soul Queen Aretha Franklin. They have been together for more than 50 years. “Aretha and I were like sisters,” proclaimed Caesar.
According to Caesar, she and Franklin would discuss their religious beliefs, and frequently, Caesar would provide Franklin with spiritual advice.
Their friendship began in the 1960s when they were young women with prominent voices. Caesar claims that Franklin and her father, Pastor C. L. Franklin, initially helped Franklin in her early endeavors as a gospel singer.
“Aretha, all of a sudden, became this promoter in Detroit for many of the Gospel artists and I was one of them.” Caesar said they discussed various topics, including music and relationships. Caesar claims they had one of their final chats concerning Franklin’s failing health a few months ago.
Franklin d!ed at age 76 from pancreatic cαncer, “Aretha said, ‘Shirley, I’m down to 117 pounds,’ I said ‘Aretha if you don’t eat–‘ and she quickly cut me off and said ‘I don’t have an appetite.'”
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During her fun*ral, Caesar performed “How I Got Over,” a song Franklin recorded in 1972. “In singing the song I knew I could not sing it like her, so I had to Caesarize it and sing it my way.”
Caesar was a member of the all-star lineup honoring the Queen of Soul, including the Reverend William Barber of North Carolina and the performer Fantasia.
“I think it was awesome! North Carolina in the house!” Caesar remembers a fantastic experience she had in music with her regal sister-friend.
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“She said to me, ‘Shirley, what you and I need to do is go to London and show the Queen who the real Queens are,’ I said ‘How are we going to go? You don’t fly. We can’t take the bus. So how you gonna get there?’ We laughed about that,” Caesar said.
Shirley Caesar addressed some of the controversies that were present at the burial. Social media users criticized Faith Hill’s performance at the fun*ral as a country singer. In Caesar’s opinion, Hill performed well.
Caesar didn’t agree with some of Reverend Jasper Williams’ eulogy (which also paid tribute to Franklin’s father). Williams appeared to criticize some black women who are home heads as part of the black family structure.
Caesar argued that Aretha’s life and legacy should have remained the main subject. Several years ago, Caesar and Franklin collaborated on the song “Friends.” Caesar hopes the music will be published soon even though it hasn’t been.
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