Saturday, June 15, 2024

Diana Ross’s Tiny Memorial Arrangement for Aretha Franklin’s Funeral Was Dwarfed by Other Celebs Including Barbra Streisand, Beyonce and Jay Z, Mariah Carey


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.

Elton John:

The Carters– Beyonce and Jay Z



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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