March 25, 2019
BY Minyetta Nelson
Detroit, MI -
A journey that started 47 years go in a Los Angeles church will make its way to the Detroit Institute of Arts on Monday evening, as "Amazing Grace" gets its long-awaited premiere in the late singer's hometown. It's sure to be a roof-raising sort of night at the DIA's Detroit Film Theatre, where an expected audience of about 1,100 will go to church with Franklin in her 29-year-old gospel prime.
Expected guests include the Revs. Al Sharpton, William Barber II and Carlton Pearson, all longtime friends of Franklin up through her death Aug. 16. The audience will also include about 300 attendees personally invited by the singer's family. The remaining 750 tickets were distributed by the evening's co-presenters: the DIA, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and Freep Film Festival (run by the Free Press). Monday would have been Franklin's 77th birthday, and timing was ideal as the movie's national roll-out plans were crafted by those involved, including the Franklin estate, distributor Neon and producer Alan Elliott, for whom the "Amazing Grace" project has been a years-long labor of love. A proposed showing at Detroit's New Bethel Baptist Church, where Franklin got her start, was scrapped because of screening logistics in the chapel.