Diana Ross had better check with her florist. The plant with her name and card on it was the smallest of the two dozen or more memorial arrangements that arrived at Greater Grace Temple on Friday.
Arrangements varied on size, most were on the large or innovative side, and very striking. The senders included Duke Fakir, the last original member of the Four Tops, Barbra Streisand, “The Carters” (presumably Beyonce and Jay Z), R&B great Sam Moore (who also sent a setting from the late Billy Preston), the family of the late Curtis Mayfield (a circle of red roses that read Loving Friend Aretha), Tony Bennett, the Elton John AIDs Foundation, Jimmy Fallon, the family of Aretha’s late producer Arif Mardin, Mariah Carey, the family of Otis Redding, the Ray Charles Foundation, the families respectively of James Brown and Mahalia Jackson, The Jacksons, and so on.
The arrangements were lined up in the church lobby on display before they were taken to the cemetery for internment. Diana Ross’s small blue plant was dwarfed by those around it. The arrangement from the Four Tops was like a Christmas tree with a big musical signature note on the top in silver. All the arrangements stood up and were spectacular (crosses made out of flowers from both Sam Moore and Mariah Carey.
Ross’s was a tiny blue plant set in a plastic holder that sat on the floor. At first I didn’t notice it until a woman I didn’t know sort of gasped behind me and exclaimed, “That’s all Diana Ross sent!” Ross and Franklin, contemporaries, grew up in Detroit and many friends in common. I replied, “Well, you know, it’s a funeral, we shouldn’t…”
The woman, who was local and African American, said, “Don’t start defending Diana Ross!”
Well, Aretha would have loved the gossip aspect of this.
I loved the note on Sam Moore’s arrangement, it made me cry, “Re, you know I always loved you to bits and pieces, even when we would fuss. Rest now in God’s Almighty loving heavenly embrace. ”
Amen. Hey, at least she sent something. Several people who shall go unnamed were MIA.
The Carters– Beyonce and Jay Z