Aretha Franklin’s Funeral Procession Will Include 130 Pink Cadillacs

At least 130 pink Cadillacs will be included in Aretha Franklin's funeral procession 4 photos
Aretha Franklin's body is carried in 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearseAretha Franklin's body is carried in 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearseAretha Franklin's body is carried in 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse
Singer Aretha Franklin is getting a send-off fit for the Queen of Soul, which she was. After the 2-day public viewing at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Midtown Detroit, the funeral service will be held at the Greater Grace Temple.
For the viewing, the singer’s body was transported in a 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse, the same one that carried her father and the right activist icon Rosa Parks. The funeral procession will include more Cadillacs, a car that Aretha loved so much she sang about it in one of her greatest hits, “Freeway of Love.”

The idea to bring pink Cadillacs to the funeral came to Crisette Ellis and her husband, when discussing about how police lined up all their cars when one of the members of the force died. It’s a sign of respect, a way to honor someone’s memory and, in Aretha’s case, also a way of paying tribute to the song – and her love of pink Cadillacs.

“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 tells NPR.

She works as an independent national sales director for Mary Kay Cosmetics, which is in the habit of rewarding its top sellers with a pink Cadillac. Ellis has one and she knows many other independent sellers like herself who have similar cars – so she tapped into this large database to put the tribute together.

On the last count, drivers of at least 130 pink Cadillacs had confirmed their attendance. “They're coming from everywhere,” Ellis says. “They are coming from as far as Texas; Omaha, Neb.; Florida; North Carolina; Maryland” and they include both vintage and newer models.

She imagines the hearse carrying Aretha’s body will pass “through a tunnel of pink Cadillacs,” just like she would have liked. A diva until the end.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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