Sunday, June 16, 2024

Respect! Aretha Franklin Honored with Detroit Amphitheater Tribute, Replacing Name of 18th Century Slave Owners


Detroit’s Chene Park on the Detroit River is no more.

Detroit’s City Council unanimously approved a resolution on Tuesday that will rename Chene Park in honor of the late Aretha Franklin. Chene Park will now become Aretha Louise Franklin Amphitheater. What an amazing tribute.

Detroit mayor Mike Duggan announced his intention to make the change at Aretha’s funeral last Friday.

Chene was originally named for a French slave owner Charles Chene, who lived from 1732-1805. He was the original owner of the land. The change is long overdue, and incredible honor.

Chene Park started out as a small stage where people sat on blankets along the river. Now it’s a thriving entertainment center with a beautiful setting. It’s also not far from the luxury apartment complex where Aretha died on August 16th.

“Aretha Louise Franklin was a life-long Detroiter, internationally beloved and acclaimed musician, and inspiration to multiple generations of music-lovers,” the resolution reads. “Her well-known support and activism towards advancing civil rights and women’s rights is a legacy that mirrors the ideals of the City of Detroit and its residents.”

The park was the site of a monumental free concert last Thursday night in memory of Aretha that featured Jean Carne, Sarah Dash, a brilliant dance number from Aretha’s famed choreographer friend George Faison, Regina Belle, the Four Tops and others.

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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