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.