ARETHA FRANKLIN’S FUNERAL IS TODAY
DETROIT (AP) — Aretha Franklin’s funeral today is expected to be at least a five-hour affair with major stars, so it’s easy to think of it as entertainment. Bishop Charles Ellis the Third of Greater Grace Temple in Detroit says it’s not a concert or an awards show production. He says he hopes people leave with a spiritual awakening. Smokey Robinson will be among the speakers and says his remarks will be personal. Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Faith Hill, Shirley Caesar, Ariana Grande (GRAHN’-day) and Chaka Khan are among the performers.
ANOTHER OUTFIT CHANGE FOR ARETHA FRANKLIN
DETROIT (AP) — Aretha Franklin had on yet another outfit for a public viewing yesterday at the church where her father once preached. Franklin wore a sparkling rose gold gown and gold sequin Christian Louboutin heels for the viewing at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit. She wore a red dress on Tuesday and a blue one on Wednesday for public viewings at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Mourners lined up for more than half a mile to get into New Bethel. The Swanson Funeral Home will not say what Franklin’s final outfit will be for her funeral today.
MATT GROENING: MICHAEL JACKSON REALLY WAS ON “THE SIMPSONS”
UNDATED (AP) — “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening (GREE’-ning) confirms Michael Jackson really was on the show in the third season. Groening tells the Australian show “The Weekly” he got a call late at night from Jackson and hung up on him because he thought it was a prank. Groening says Jackson called back, said he loved Bart and asked if he could be on the show. Jackson voiced a character who believes he is Jackson and is in a mental institution with Homer. The part where the character sings “Happy Birthday Lisa” with Bart is not Jackson, though. Groening says they got an impersonator so that Jackson would not breach a contract.
BILLIE EILISH READY TO BE A HEADLINER
CHICAGO (AP) — Billie Eilish (EYE’-lish) will not have her first album out until probably next year, yet she’s confident she can fill a set list as a headliner. Eilish says what’s cool is that she’s performing every song she’s ever released. She says it’s probably the only time in her career she’ll be able to do that, unless she starts doing really long shows. Eilish says she fills out the set by doing at least one unreleased song per concert, and somehow fans still know the words. She also does a ukulele version of “Hotline Bling.” Eilish will do a handful of dates before her headlining tour, which starts Oct. 4 in Norfolk, Virginia.
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ELTON JOHN ENTERS RAP GAME FOR SNICKERS COMMERCIAL
CHICAGO (AP) — The latest Snickers commercial will feature Elton John in a rap battle. The premise is that a rapper has lost his edge because he’s hungry, so he starts belting out “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” The commercial starts airing tomorrow.
METALLICA WATCHES, METALLICA WHISKEY COMING THIS FALL
UNDATED (AP) — Metallica are offering a line of watches, and a line of whiskey. Metallica have teamed with Nixon watchmakers to create nine watches. One version has a seconds hand shaped like a Flying V guitar, while a limited edition version has a sub-dial that says “Sane” or “Insane.” At the same time, Metallica have paired with distiller Dave Pickerell to created Blackened American Whiskey. According to the band, part of the creation involves blasting the barrels with a low-frequency sound range through a propriety subwoofer. Both the watches and the whiskey will be available this fall.
SUICIDAL TENDENCIES HAVE NEW ALBUM, SHOE COMING NEXT MONTH
NEW YORK (AP) — Converse is coming out with Suicidal Tendencies shoes next month. It will come as a regular version and as a high-top, with a design inspired by the band’s posters from the 1980s. Each version comes with two extra sets of laces, including one with the Suicidal Tendencies logo. They will sell for about $95 a pair beginning Sept. 7. That’s the same day as the release of the band’s new album, “Still Cyco Punk After All These Years.”
By Margie Szaroleta