Filmmaker Tyler Perry hosted the special and it was produced by legendary music executive Clive Davis and television executive Ken Ehrlich.
“Aretha was more than the Queen of Soul; she was a national treasure. This unique concert—featuring many of today’s greatest artists—will celebrate Aretha in a spectacular manner befitting her once-in-a-lifetime talent,” Davis said about the tribute concert in December 2018.
Keys performed a three-song medley including “Spirit in the Dark,” “Day Dreaming” and “You’re All I Need to Get By.” SZA joined the 15-time Grammy winner to sing the latter two covers.
Fantasia, H.E.R., John Legend and Jennifer Hudson, who is scheduled to portray Franklin in her biopic, also performed a number of the late singer’s greatest hits.
“I sang ‘A Bridge Over Troubled Waters,’ the Simon & Garfunkel classic that Aretha had a way of covering songs and making them her own,” Legend said after his performance. “I was happy to do her version of the cover version. “
Franklin won 18 Grammys during her more than 50-year career. The music icon passed awa in August 2018 from pancreatic cancer at 76 in her Detroit home.
Watch some of the performances and interviews from the tribute below.
H.E.R – “I Say a Little Prayer”
Celine Dion Shares Diva Moment with Aretha
Fantasia, Andra Day,
Alessia Cara, Brandi Carlile – “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.