DETROIT — A former presidents and preachers joined a parade of singers Friday in a hip-swaying, piano-pounding farewell to Aretha Franklin, remembering the Queen of Soul as a powerful force for musical and political change and a steadfast friend and family member. “Aretha’s singing challenged the dangling discords of hate and lies and racism and injustice,” the pastor William J. Barber II said. “Her singing was revelation and was revolution.” In a
NEW YORK — When I got the chance to interview Aretha Franklin for the first time in 2001, I was already a bundle of nerves: Even though it was just over the phone, I’d be talking to THE Queen of Soul! You could get no closer to rock ‘n’ roll royalty than the Queen herself. So my trepidation was magnified when a colleague told me not to expect much: Franklin was famously guarded and known for giving short, to-the-point answers and little in the way of introspection.