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Live Stream: Detroit Hosts Star-Studded Funeral for Aretha Franklin



Detroit will bid a final goodbye to US music icon Aretha Franklin at her star-studded funeral on Friday, her family to be joined by political dignitaries and music royalty in celebrating her life.

The 76-year-old singer, beloved by millions around the world, died of cancer on August 16, closing the curtain on a glittering six-decade career that made her one of America’s most celebrated artists.

Former president Bill Clinton and Smokey Robinson are among those due to address her six-hour, invitation-only funeral at the Greater Grace Temple. Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande are to lead musical tributes.

The service is for family and friends only, meaning that members of the public will have to watch online or on a giant screen reportedly being erected near the church. The formal part of the service is to begin at 10am (1400 GMT) in her Michigan hometown.

Franklin won 18 Grammy awards and was feted for her civil rights work, raising money for the cause and uplifting activists with her anthems.

She 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 think it’s going to be a very upbeat service. I think it’s going to be a very jubilant service,” Bishop Charles Ellis, the officiating pastor, told AFP this week.

The daughter of a prominent Baptist preacher and civil rights activist, Franklin sang at the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the inaugurations of presidents Clinton and Barack Obama.

She was awarded America’s highest civilian honor by George W. Bush in 2005. Letters from Bush and Obama are expected to be read at the funeral.

After the service, she will make her final journey in the same ivory 1940 Cadillac LaSalle that transported the body of her father in 1984, and that of civil rights icon Rosa Parks in 2005.

“Spirit of God”

More than 100 pink Cadillacs – a nod to her 1985 hit “Freeway of Love” – will reportedly line up outside the church. She will be buried in Woodland Cemetery alongside her father and siblings.

The funeral comes the morning after more than 40 artists performed at a free concert, billed “A People’s Tribute to the Queen,” spanning the R&B, Gospel, Jazz and Blues genres in which Franklin excelled.

Thousands of joyful fans packed into a water-front arena in Detroit, listening to guest singers powering through some of her greatest hits, culminating in an all-cast arrangement of “Respect”.

Her signature song, a feminist anthem, became a rallying cry as African-Americans rose up nationwide in the 1960s to fight peacefully for racial equality.

Her grandchildren spoke briefly, delivering heartfelt thanks on behalf of their family. “It’s truly inspiring to see how many hearts, how many people my grandma has touched,” said Victorie Franklin.

Dancing, excitedly taking selfies and filming parts of the concert on their cellphones, the evening was a chance for Detroit to celebrate the life and legacy of a towering figure regarded as local royalty.

“Aretha Franklin is awesome to me. My family have been listening to her for a long time,” said Felicia Christian, a 41-year-old teacher who got in despite not having a ticket after arriving hours early.

“I think she’s wonderful and I know that the spirit of God that’s in her is what brought all of us here.”

Headliners included The Four Tops, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Angie Stone, while a gospel choir took everyone to church, rousing the crowd to their feet with an electric, upbeat performance of classics and a powerful rendition of “Amazing Grace” by Tasha Page-Lockhart.

The concert followed three days of public viewings of her open, golden casket that drew thousands — at her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church, and the Charles H. Wright Museum for African-American History.

On Thursday, she lay resplendent in a rose gold outfit and matching Christian Louboutin stilettos. On Tuesday, she wore a red dress with matching heels and on Wednesday she was in blue.

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Chairman Adam Schiff’s Speech Destroying House Republicans Ignites Popular #YouMightThinkItsOK Rallying Cry



Many are cheering House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff‘s response to Republicans on his Committee calling for his resignation Thursday. Chastising his colleagues, Schiff delivered a powerful four-minute takedown of the GOP’s defense of what he called the President’s and his team’s “immoral,” “unethical,” “unpatriotic,” and “corrupt” behavior.

“My colleagues might think it’s okay that the Russians offered dirt on the Democratic candidate for president as part of what’s described as the Russian government’s effort to help the Trump campaign,” Chairman Schiff began (video below, full transcript here.) “You might think that’s okay. My colleagues might think it’s okay that when that was offered to the son of the president, who had a pivotal role in the campaign, that the president’s son did not call the FBI, he did not adamantly refuse that foreign help — no, instead that son said he would ‘love’ the help with the Russians.”

Schiff repeated his “you might think” mantra about 20 times in four minutes, and it’s ignited an explosion of people on social media who agree that regardless of what Attorney General William Barr would like America to believe, Trump and his team have committed “immoral,” “unethical,” “unpatriotic,” and “corrupt” acts.

They’ve turned it into a very popular hashtag on Twitter.

 has turned into a blistering attack on everything Trump, including all the bad acts his administration is perpetrating.

It is now a rallying cry.

Take a look:


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Ellen Page Blames Mike Pence for Anti-LGBTQ Hate: ‘You Spend Your Career Trying to Cause Suffering’ (Video)



‘Connect the Dots’

Ellen Page did not mince words and did not hold back in a powerful and strong attack on Vice President Mike Pence Thursday night. The 31-year old actress who married dancer Emma Portner last year appeared on “The Late Show” and blamed Pence for anti-LGBTQ hate and violence.

“Connect the dots,” she urged the audience, linking the Vice President’s staunch anti-LGBT agenda, including from when he was the governor of Indiana and a U.S. Congressman, to hate and violence.

“If you are in a position of power and you hate people, and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering,” Page charged.

“What do you think is going to happen? Kids are going to be abused, and they’re going to kill themselves. And people are going to be beaten on the street. I have traveled the world and I have met the most marginalized people you can meet. I am lucky to have this time and this privilege to say this. This needs to fucking stop.”

Page was referring to her VICELAND show “Gaycation,” during which she traveled to several countries around the world and interviewed anti-LGBTQ extremists.

“Sorry, I’m really fired up tonight, but it feels impossible to not feel this way right now with the President and Vice President Mike Pence, who wishes I couldn’t be married, let’s just be clear. The Vice President of America wishes I didn’t have the love with my wife. He wanted to ban that in Indiana. He believes in conversion therapy,” Page told Colbert.

Page said Pence “has hurt LGBTQ people so badly as the governor of Indiana, and I think the thing we need to know, and I hope my show ‘Gaycation’ did this in terms of connecting the dots, in terms of what happened the other day to Jussie [Smollett], I don’t know him personally, I send all of my love, connect the dots.”


Full interview:





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Ocasio-Cortez speaks on justice at Women’s March



Ocasio-Cortez speaking at the Women's March

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez addressed the New York edition of the Women’s March yesterday, presenting a message of inclusion and intersectionality.

Evoking the civil rights movement on the weekend before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Ocasio-Cortez spoke of the Women’s March being a continuation of that movement’s fight for justice. 

“Justice is not a concept we read about in a book,” said Ocasio-Cortez . “Justice is about the water that we drink. Justice is about the air that we breathe. Justice is about how easy it is to vote. Justice is about how much ladies get paid. Justice is about if we can stay with our children after have them for a just amount of time: mothers, fathers, and all parents. Justice is about making sure that being polite is not the same thing as being quiet.” 

“In fact, sometimes the most righteous thing you can do is shake the table,” she added. 

As she spoke, Ocasio-Cortez was wearing a pin on her jacket that featured both a traditional LGBTQ rainbow flag alongside a transgender flag.

“Let us remember that a fight means no person left behind,” said Ocasio-Cortez . “So, when people want to stop talking about the issues black women face, when people want to stop talking about the issues that trans women or immigrant women face, we’ve got to ask them, Why does that make you so uncomfortable? 

“This is not just about identity, this is about justice and this is about the America we are going to bring into this world,” Ocasio-Cortez added.

The March was not without its own controversies, as some in the leadership of Women’s March Inc., located primarily in Washington, DC, have had associations with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a man known for anti-Semitic views as well as anti-LGBTQ and even anti-woman stances.  

This led to many events remaining independent from Women’s March Inc. leadership, even as that leadership seeks to repudiate messages of hate.

Ocasio-Cortez spoke at both the “Unity” event affiliated with the Women’s March Inc., as well as the independent NYC Women’s March. This speech was presented at the affiliated event, even though she spoke at both, and received the aforementioned lapel pin at the NYC Women’s March event.

View the whole speech below:

Image via screen capture from video source.

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