More than 130 pink Cadillacs from across the country have gathered in Detroit to line the road in front of the church where Aretha Franklin’s funeral is being held on Friday morning.
The touching gesture is pays homage to one of her most famous songs and a Detroit anthem.
The cars are paying tribute to the Queen of Soul’s hit song Freeway Of Love, a 1985 song that features chorus lyrics: ‘We’re going riding on the freeway of love. In a pink Cadillac.’
The idea was that of Crisette Ellis, an independent national sales director for a cosmetic company. She said she was inspired after seeing police line up in their cars for fallen officers.
‘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?” Ellis, who owns a luxurious pink Escalade, explained to NPR.
130 pink Cadillacs have lined up in a procession for the Queen of Soul’s Friday funeral outside the road to the church
Cadillac owners have come from across the country in order to pay tribute to the singer. The idea was inspired by the way police line up their vehicles to honor fallen officers
From the air the sheer number of cars that are visible can be seen on the avenue stretching away from the church
The cars pay tribute to her 1985 hit Freeway of Love with the lyric ‘We’re going riding on the freeway of love. In a pink Cadillac’
A Pink Cadillac sits outside the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History during a public visitation for legendary singer earlier this week
A woman stands next to a pink Cadillac vintage car outside where Aretha Franklin’s body lay in state
Fans of Franklin took the opportunity to sit inside pink cadillacs that the singer sung about in one of her hits
Ellis began searching for others who might have had their own vehicle to spare for the sentimental procession.
‘They’re coming from everywhere,’ she added. ‘They are coming from as far as Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Florida; North Carolina; Maryland.’
The independent saleswoman shared that a few classic ones from the 1960s would be included in the motorcade.
‘Freeway of Love is like an anthem for us Detroiters,’ he explained. ‘[It] starts off with a Motown beat, and that’s the pulse of the city.’
The song would grant Franklin her 12th Grammy Award, winning for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Its subsequent video features scenes of the Motor City, with the city’s once booming motor industry prominently featured in it.
After the funeral, Franklin will be entombed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, along with her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin; brother Cecil Franklin; sisters Carolyn Franklin and Erma Franklin; and nephew, Thomas Garrett.
Woodlawn also is the final resting place for Parks and many of the Motor City’s musical elite, including members of the Four Tops.
Pink Cadillac owners from across the country have made the journey to Detroit in order to pay tribute to the singer
Dozens of pink Cadillac owners are paying tribute to the ‘Queen of Soul’ by lining up their cars in Detroit for her funeral
A woman takes a selfie photograph near a pink Cadillac outside the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Franklin passed away August 16 at 9.50am surrounded by family and friends at her home in Detroit following a battle with advanced pancreatic cancer.
‘In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family,’ a statement from her family read.
‘We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers.
‘We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.’
Franklin, who sang with matchless style on such classics as ‘Think,’ ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ and her signature song, ‘Respect’, announced her retirement from touring last year.
The mother-of-four had battled various undisclosed health issues in recent years. Her last public performance was at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation gala in New York in November last year.
Aretha Franklin performed at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Fall Gala in New York City on November 7, 2017. It was her last public performance before her death on August 16