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Aretha Franklin to Be Honored With American Music Awards Tribute

Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and CeCe Winans are set to perform; Rickey Minor serves as musical director.

A person holds a program during
Paul Sancya/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Aretha Franklin will be honored with a special tribute at the 2018 American Music Awards, hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross and broadcasting live on ABC from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. ET.

Soul and gospel stars Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and CeCe Winans will headline the evening with a group performance honoring the late Queen of Soul’s iconic gospel album, “Amazing Grace.” Composer and producer Rickey Minor has signed on as musical director for the tribute.

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the American Music Awards, dick clark productions and American Music Awards producer, Larry Klein, for honoring Aretha Franklin with a musical tribute for this year’s broadcast,” said Sabrina Owens, Franklin’s niece and executor of the Aretha Franklin Estate, in a statement. “We still remember when Aretha won her first American Music Award in 1976 for Favorite Female Artist – Soul/R&B, and throughout the years, she went on to win five more awards and we will never forget when she hosted the show; as well as her memorable performances. Dick Clark helped to revolutionize American music, and along the way, Aretha Franklin was part of that revolution.”

Knight, a seven-time Grammy winner herself with No. 1 hits in the pop, gospel, R&B and adult contemporary categories, expressed her excitement to participate in the performance.

“It’s a blessing to be a part of this moving musical tribute to honor our late queen and sister, Aretha,” Knight said. “She was an icon and visionary, radiated light and love through all of her life’s work, and touched all of us through her incredible gift of music.”

Minor had similar sentiments to share, adding: “Aretha was the voice of a generation. She transcended racial barriers by reaching into the depths of her soul and taking us on a journey with every note she sang. Her spirit will live forever in her music.”