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The Week Ahead

No tribute surprises for Aretha

October 27, 2003|Greg Braxton

Aretha Franklin was thrilled at being honored with a TV tribute on BET. But she didn't want any surprises.

The legendary "Queen of Soul" wanted to know exactly who was performing and what they were singing during the taping of her induction into BET's Walk of Fame. The star-studded ceremony, which took place Oct. 18 at BET's Washington, D.C., studios, will be televised Tuesday at 9 p.m. on the cable network.

Stephen Hill, BET's senior vice president of music programming and talent, said that last year's Walk of Fame inductee, Stevie Wonder, was just the opposite: He wanted to be surprised during his tribute.

"He just wanted to sit back and enjoy it," Hill said. "But Aretha wanted to know exactly what was going on, and who was going to be there."

Among those performing are Chaka Khan, Mary J. Blige, Norah Jones, Wilson Pickett, Seal, Yolanda Adams, Teena Marie, Ronald Isley, Eddie Levert and "American Idol's" Ruben Studdard.

Franklin also performs several songs. "She covers other phases of her career like jazz and blues," Hill said. "She is truly one of our national treasures."

In addition to Wonder, past Walk of Fame inductees include Patti LaBelle, Luther Vandross, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson.

-- Greg Braxton

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