The world is still in mourning for the legendary Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, who died in August at the age of 76. To honor her memory, artists including Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson and others will take part in the Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul tribute special. CBS is set to air the special sometime in 2019. Tyler Perry will host and a slew of musical guests are slated to perform songs from Franklin’s impressive and impactful catalog.
According to Variety, at least 16 artists will perform for Aretha!, which will film on Jan. 13. In addition to Hudson and Clarkson, the latter of whom is no stranger to tribute performances, the special will also feature Janelle Monáe, Patti LaBelle (who laid her long-running feud with Franklin to rest after her death), Alicia Keys, Common, Céline Dion, John Legend, Yolanda Adams, Shirley Caesar, Alessia Cara, BeBe Winans, Brandi Carlile, Chloe x Halle, H.E.R. and SZA.
Music mogul Clive Davis, who is producing the tribute special in partnership with CBS, The Recording Academy and AEG Ehrlich Ventures, said in a statement, “Aretha was more than the Queen of Soul; she was a national treasure. This unique concert — featuring many of today’s greatest artists — will celebrate Aretha in a spectacular manner befitting her once-in-a-lifetime talent.”
Jack Sussman, CBS’ executive vice president of specials, music and live events added in the same statement, “This special will celebrate Aretha Franklin’s numerous accomplishments as an entertainment icon, singer, songwriter, pianist, actress and civil rights activist. Aretha had an incredible effect on humanity and music with her indomitable spirit and grace. We look forward to honoring this music legend with numerous performers who all admire and respect the Queen of Soul.”
Salute to the Queen. The greatest vocalist I've ever known. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 #Aretha
— John Legend (@johnlegend) August 16, 2018
Finally, co-executive producer Ken Ehrlich also said in the statement that Aretha! will highlight “the remarkable musical and cultural accomplishments of the Queen of Soul through her own words and music as well as through the performances of an amazing group of musical artists who will gather to celebrate her amazing musical heritage.”
There is no word yet on when Franklin’s tribute special will air on CBS, but we’ll be sure to tune in for what’s bound to be an emotional night of music and memories.