Cadillac and General Motors celebrated a life well lived this past Friday as Aretha Franklin was laid to rest. Both the luxury division and the parent automaker honored the Queen of Soul with their own tributes.
Automotive News (subscription required) reported that GM took out full-page advertisements in a handful of national newspapers to celebrate the late artist’s life. The ads feature a pink background and in white lettering read, “1942-2018. Respect.” The traditional Cadillac emblem also appears in the advertisement—the same emblem that appeared in Aretha Franklin’s “Freeway of Love” video and single cover from 1985.
Locals likely noticed unique lights donning the GM Renaissance Center as well. The automaker lit the top towers in a pink hue and spelled out “Respect” in the LED screen that displays the GM and auto brand logos. At the funeral service this past weekend, Franklin’s burial featured over 100 pink Cadillacs to further honor the artist and her connection to Detroit. The Greater Grace Temple church organized the pink Cadillac parade.
GM CEO Mary Barra also tweeted a statement reading, “Thank you, Aretha, for the inspiration and pride you’ve given to Detroit and the world. Your message lives on.”
Franklin became nearly synonymous with Detroit automobile culture with close ties to Cadillac, but she also featured in a 1980s Chevrolet ad. The artist lent her talents to a Chevrolet “Heartbeat of America” advertisement in 1988. The ad, embedded below, featured Franklin singing the “Heatbeat of America” anthem and featured the Chevy Beretta, Camaro and Corvette.
In a final fitting move, Franklin’s last ride on Earth took place in a 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse. The hearse has carried numerous important persons to rest, including Franklin’s father, David Ruffin of The Temptations, and civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
The Queen of Soul passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Frankin died on August 16.