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.
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.”