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Aretha Franklin Family's Planning Public Viewing At Detroit Museum

8/16/2018 6:06 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Aretha Franklin's family knows a massive turnout's expected to honor the legendary singer -- and a church just won't cut it -- so they'll hold her public viewing at a much larger venue ... TMZ has learned. 

Sources close to the family tell us ... the memorial for the Queen of Soul will be held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. We're told the location was chosen to accommodate the thousands expected to show up. Aretha was also a frequent visitor.

As of now, no date's been set ... and it's unclear if it will be open casket. 

Our sources say Aretha's family determined a traditional church service for her viewing just wasn't an option because of the projected turnout.

The museum was also the site of Rosa Parks' viewing in 2005.

As we reported ... Franklin died Thursday at her home in Detroit surrounded by friends and family after a long battle with cancer.

She was 76.

Ariana Grande Breaks Down on 'Tonight Show' After Singing 'Natural Woman'

8/16/2018 4:59 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Ariana Grande did something she did not want to do today, but powered through in honor of Aretha Franklin and then broke down in tears.

Production sources tell us Ariana was scheduled to appear on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Falon" Thursday ... but she was only going to do a comedy skit. She was not going to sing.

When she arrived on set, producers asked her if she would perform an Aretha song in honor of the late singer. Ariana told them she couldn't do it ... she was just too emotional in the wake of her death. She said Aretha was one of her heroes.

We're told Questlove then approached Ariana and convinced her it would be awesome for her to perform an Aretha song with the Roots. 

Ariana changed her mind and opened the show with 'Natural Woman.' It's the first thing you'll see if you watch the show. Ariana brought the house down and got a standing O.

We're told when Ariana left the stage she broke down in tears.

Kourtney Kardashian's Ex My Luxury Ride's Over

8/16/2018 5:45 PM PDT

Younes Bendjima's flying solo now, and because of that ... it appears his mode of transportation's a lot more basic than what it used to be.

Kourtney Kardashian's ex-bf was spotted out by himself in WeHo Thursday in very casual attire, before hopping in a ride worth hundreds of thousands less than Kourt's convertible Bentley he was seen gassing up in Calabasas last month ... a regular ol' Ford Explorer.

The 25-year-old model has been getting back to a normal way of living since Kourtney dumped him a few weeks ago ... possibly because he cheated on her.

'Vanderpump Rules' star Jax Taylor pointed it out to the world when he spotted Bendjima slumming it at the regular gym Monday night just like him ... with some regular water.

No more Fiji ... no more Bentley. Poor Younes.

Aretha Franklin Motor City Becomes Soul City Tributes All Over Detroit

8/16/2018 3:03 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

The R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Aretha Franklin has spread across Detroit, with memorials on display on some of the most famous buildings in the place the Queen of Soul called home.

The Fox Theatre, Comerica Park and Little Caesars Arena have all put up tributes to Aretha with the message "Forever Our Queen" ... while fans have added balloons and gifts to Aretha Franklin Way.

The Fillmore Detroit and the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts have also posted messages of love for Franklin on their marquees. A memorial has popped up in front of New Bethel Baptist Church, which was founded by Aretha's father.

Aretha passed away Thursday in her Detroit home, and has received an outpouring of heartfelt and emotional shout-outs from countless celebs ... including Barack and Michelle Obama.

She was 76.

RIP

Aretha Franklin Hearse Arrives at Detroit Home ... For Funeral Prep

8/16/2018 3:03 PM PDT

Aretha Franklin's body has been removed from her home and is en route to a funeral home.

A hearse was spotted at the Queen of Soul's Detroit condo building Thursday, several hours after she passed away

Family sources tell TMZ they have struggled this week, as news broke Aretha was in her final days of life. The family wanted privacy as they said goodbye and grieved, but also understood their relative was a national treasure and felt the grief must be shared.

The family has not announced plans for a funeral or a memorial, but there are already plans for multiple memorials in various forms in Aretha's hometown. In addition, a tribute concert will be held at Madison Square Garden in New York City in November.

The Obamas, Paul McCartney, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, Diana Ross and Hugh Jackman were among dozens of celebs to pay their respects.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Reunited ... With Lost 1969 Mr. Universe Trophy!

8/16/2018 2:56 PM PDT
Breaking News

Almost 50 YEARS after Arnold Schwarzenegger won the 1969 Mr. Universe competition -- he has finally been reunited with his 1st place trophy ... after it went missing decades ago!!

The story is wild ... Arnold won the contest in London back when he was around 22 years old -- during his second year as a pro bodybuilder. 

But, he gave the hardware to his mother ... who ended up giving it away to a fan without telling her son and it went missing for years! 

Arnold got a tip about the trophy during a visit to a local gym in Budapest -- when the owner put him in touch with a bench press champion named Lorand Berke ... the fan who visited Arnold's mom! 

Berke brought the trophy back to Arnold -- who verified it was authentic! 

Now, Arnold says he's "pumped up" to get it back and promises to get Lorand a replacement trophy as a reward. 

Pretty cool, right? 

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Omarosa Explains Why She Supported Trump in 2016 ... Despite Believing He Used N-Word

8/16/2018 1:34 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Omarosa had some trouble explaining why she was a fierce supporter of Donald Trump given that she says very clearly in a secret conversation she recorded in 2016 that she knew he had used the n-word.

We talked to the ex-White House staffer on "TMZ Live" about the barrage of secret recordings she's revealed to promote her new book, 'Unhinged,' including the latest in which Donald Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara, tried bribing her with hush money after she got fired.

We also asked about the 2016 conversation she had with Trump campaign staffers to figure out a spin in case Trump had used the n-word. A staffer said she had talked to Trump who denied ever using the word, to which Omarosa said, "That's not true."

Omarosa's publicist was not amused.

Aretha Franklin Embraced Upcoming Biopic ... Just Last Week

8/16/2018 1:40 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Even cancer couldn't drain Aretha Franklin's optimism ... and the Queen of Soul was looking forward to getting back on the mic, as late as last week ... so says the producer of her upcoming biopic.

Aretha was intimately involved in the pre-production of her biopic, spending hours with producer Harvey Mason Jr.

Harvey says Aretha has signed off on the perfect person to play her ... Jennifer Hudson, who has the pipes and the acting cred to pull off the role.

The movie centers around Aretha's journey to discover her true voice and who she wanted to be as an artist. The film doesn't have a release date and there are no plans to speed the production in the wake of Aretha's passing

Mason Jr. spoke to Aretha last week and gave him no sign she was dying.

Al Sharpton to Donald Trump Aretha's R-E-S-P-E-C-T ... Doggonit, Find Out What It Means!!!

8/16/2018 2:00 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Al Sharpton wants someone to blast Donald Trump with a little of Aretha Franklin's "Respect" ... 'cause dude really needs it.

We got the reverend out in NYC Thursday and, of course, had to ask him about The Queen of Soul passing away several hours earlier. Al paid heavy tribute and went down memory lane when it came to her iconic performances.

But more than anything, Al says on the heels of Trump calling Omarosa a dog he, more than anyone else, should soak in the classic track. As we reported ... Aretha died Thursday after a long battle with cancer.

She was 76. #RIP

Kim Kardashian West Family Yacht Day ... All Aboard, Kiddos!!!

8/16/2018 12:08 PM PDT

Kim Kardashian West is teaching her kids how to live it up in Miami ... which should always include some time spent on a luxury sea vessel.

KKW brought her oldest children -- North and Saint -- onboard Miami mogul David Grutman's yacht Thursday ... and had her finest hot pink, skin-tight Chanel catsuit on to chase 'em around.

North matched her mom with some pink shorts, and Saint looked absolutely adorable rocking a captain's hat.

Also on the yacht were family friends Jonathan Cheban, Larsa Pippen and her daughter Sophia.

Btw ... Kim knows how to do an encore when it comes to her bright and tight Miami outfits. We see you, girl.

Omarosa Releases Audio of Lara Trump ... Offers Hush Money After Firing

8/16/2018 10:42 AM PDT
Breaking News

It's now clear why Donald Trump pretended not to know his Chief of Staff fired Omarosa, because he and his family were clearly on a campaign to buy her silence ... or at least to hush her up and not talk trash.

Omarosa just released another secret audio recording ... this time with Eric Trump's wife, Lara, and it's shocking. She straight-up offers her around $180k to work on Trump's reelection campaign -- what she made at the White House, but there's a string attached.

Lara says, "It sounds a little like, obviously, that there are some things you've got in the back pocket to pull out. Clearly if you come on board the campaign, we can't have ..." and then she says Omarosa's got to keep it positive.

Here's what's really shocking ... General Kelly told Omarosa she was being fired for financial improprieties involving "integrity" issues that could run her afoul of the law. She wasn't fit for the White House, but she's fit for Trump's reelection campaign? 

Omarosa released the tape on MSNBC.

Aretha Franklin Queen of Soul Dead at 76

8/16/2018 6:59 AM PDT
Breaking News

Aretha Franklin, known for having one of the greatest voices in music history, and for hits like "Respect," and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" ... died Thursday after a long battle with advanced pancreatic cancer.

Aretha passed away in her Detroit home where she was under hospice care. She'd been in failing health for many months and she was down to 86 pounds. One source told us he was informed more than a week ago that Aretha could go at any time.

She was surrounded by friends and family when she passed. Her family released a statement, saying, "In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family."

She had appeared incredibly frail in recent years, and rarely performed live. Her most recent appearance was last November for Elton John's AIDS Foundation 25th Anniversary Benefit.

Aretha's career is just incredible. Born in Memphis in 1942, her family eventually relocated to Detroit where she began singing in her father's church. She was such a powerhouse gospel singer, she landed a Columbia record deal in the early '60s.

Her string of chart-topping hits began with her Atlantic Records deal in 1967.

Aretha's achievements in the late '60s were remarkable for any artist, but especially so for a black woman in the midst of the Civil Rights movement. She held the record for the most entries on the Hot 100 list of any female artist for nearly 40 years, only to be dethroned in 2017 by Nicki Minaj.

She won 18 Grammys and was the first woman ever inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Aretha delivered a powerful rendition of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" -- while wearing that unforgettable hat -- at Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration.

Throughout her career, Aretha was known for delivering incredible one-off live performances, including at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors show where she sang 'Natural Woman' in honor of the song's co-writer, Carole King.

The Queen of Soul was 76. She is survived by her 4 sons.

RIP

Aretha Franklin Global 'Respect' For Music ... Dominating The Charts

8/16/2018 11:02 AM PDT

The perfect way to remember Aretha Franklin is through her music ... and the Queen of Soul is now topping the charts on iTunes. 

Aretha has the No. 1 song, "Respect," and the top album, "30 Greatest Hits." She also has 3 more tracks in the Top 10. 

It's not just her songs that are getting major play ... Aretha has the No. 2 music vid, "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)." The jam features George Michael

The hits keep coming ... Aretha has 3 more tracks in the Top 40, for a total of 7 -- "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" is No. 2; "I Say A Little Prayer" is No. 4; "Chain of Fools" is No. 9; "Think" is No. 14; "Until You Come Back to Me" is No. 24; "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)" is No. 36.

As we reported ... Aretha died in her Detroit home Thursday after a long battle with advanced pancreatic cancer. She was 76.

Fortunately for us, her music lives on. 

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