Aretha Franklin, 69, was supposed to be at Whitney Houston’s funeral. She was planning to sing. But, if you watched the service, you may have noticed that she wasn’t there.Dionne Warwick was apparently unaware that Aretha wasn’t in the church, and called for her to come to the pulpit, saying, “Oh, ‘Re’s not here?”
The star had unexpectedly canceled her performance.
Franklin said in a statement on Saturday that she had “every intention” of being at the service, but, “I had terrible leg spasms and locked leg muscles until 4:00 a.m. this morning following my concert last night, which I’ve been having for the last few days. I feel it necessary and very important to stay off my leg today as much as possible until concert time this evening. My heart goes out to my dear friend Cissy, Dionne, Bobbi Kristina and the rest of the family. May God keep them all. Aretha & the Franklin Family.”
Franklin did perform at Radio City on Saturday night, with AP reporting that the Queen of Soul “danced and shimmied, kicked off her heels and paced the stage barefoot, and even smirked and gave herself a couple of satisfied pats on the rear.”
Since then, reports suggest that Franklin was un-inivited to the funeral because she ticked off Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mom, with remarks she made on the Today show last week. Franklin told Al Roker, “Parents really have to talk to their children before they leave home. They have to make sure when they leave home, they have all the right things. She left home with all the right things, but she just kind of lost her way along the way.”
On Tuesday, the Daily News says Franklin sent flowers to Cissy apologizing for missing the service and the paper quotes a source as saying that the Queen of Soul has still not recovered from the spasms. Franklin, the source says, had to be sure to perform at Radio City because it was a make-up show for one missed in 2010 due to health problems.
Cissy’s rep had no comment for the News.
UPDATE 3 p.m. ET: Aretha Franklin has issued a statement, commenting on all the “B.S.” about the funeral. She tells Lifeline Live:
Extra TV, the New York Post and Newsday (New York) should stop the BS. Cissy Houston and I have been longtime friends for almost 50 years. I have four invitations and parking passes that were sent to me for the funeral.
Extra TV, the New York Post and Newsday (New York) are more interested in sensationalism and negative speculations than the truth. People are getting their information from the wrong source.
The intelligent and the thoughtful thing to do would be to respect and have some sensitivity to the moment. If you don’t know how, at least try. Cissy does not need ridiculous speculation and neither do I—particularly at this time.
Also, with respect to the Today Show, my entire statement was pre-taped. However, the Today Show did not air the part of my statement, which said, ‘This is no reflection on Cissy or Nippy’s upbringing.’ Knowing Cissy as well as I do, I know Whitney left home right and properly. I was generalizing and it was a well intended statement for any young adult coming into the music industry. I was not speaking of anyone specifically.”