Thursday, April 25, 2024

Exclusive: Aretha Franklin Is Going to Get on a Plane and Fly For the First Time in 33 Years


Oh me, oh my. Aretha Franklin is going to fly.

Maybe, but at least the plan has been made.

The Queen of Soul tells me that she has made a definite date to fly from Detroit to Chicago at the end of this month. I know the date, but I don’t want to cause a stampede at the airport.

She won’t be alone on her short flight. The First Lady of Gospel, Shirley Caesar, has volunteered to be Miss Aretha’s companion. Of course, there will be a couple of other friends, maybe a bodyguard or two.

“How do you like that?” Aretha said, proudly, when I spoke to her tonight. “The First Lady of Gospel.”

Now the Queen has said on other occasions that she would try this. But this time she sounds like she means it. It’s a big deal. But if Franklin could get over her fear of flying, millions of dollars await her concert bookings around the world. She hasn’t appeared in Europe or Asia in eons.

Meantime, Aretha asked me to remind everyone that she is really giving shelter, water and food to residents of Flint, about 20 miles away from Detroit. The families are screened once they come to her father’s church. It’s the New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. 8430 Linwood Street. 8430 C. L. Franklin Blvd. Detroit, MI 48206. t. (313) 894-5788. Once they qualify (proof of I.D., lease, etc) they get a free night in the Courtyard Marriott in nearby Southfield.

Aretha is also giving a one night only Valentine’s concert across the river in Windsor, Ontario on February 13th at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace.

P.S. I asked her if she ever met Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire, who passed away on Thursday. “I did not really know him,” she said. “But that music! He was an innovator. Everyone loves Earth, Wind and Fire.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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