by Graham Pierrepoint
Aretha Franklin's Family Says Eulogy Was Offensive, Distasteful
It’s only been in recent weeks that we have had to say goodbye to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin – an incredible talent whose meteoric rise to fame is more or less unparalleled. Franklin led an extraordinary life – and, fittingly, there have been hundreds of tributes pouring out for the late star in the wake of her shock passing this August. The singer passed away having suffered from pancreatic cancer – but her legacy far outweighs the tragedy of her final days. A public eulogy for Franklin, however, does not seem to have gone down well with many people – least of all her family and estate, who have spoken out against the pastor involved – claiming his eulogy to be both offensive and distasteful.
Reverend Jasper Williams Jr, who presided over the eulogy in question, took center stage at the Greater Grace Temple, Detroit – only to apparently take the opportunity to discuss broader matters at hand – as well as his own opinions – which don’t appear to have been swallowed too well by everyone.
“Rev. Jasper Williams spent more than 50 minutes speaking and at no time did he properly eulogize (Ms Franklin),” a family statement reads. Most concern appears to have arisen from the Reverend’s decision to advise that single mothers were unable to ‘raise a black boy to become a man’ – referring to fatherless homes as ‘abortion(s) after birth’ – while claiming that “Until black people start respecting black lives and stop killing ourselves, black lives can never matter.”
Williams Jr is thought to have provided eulogy services for other members of the family – but on this occasion, the family remained unamused. His comments have been seen as particularly distasteful as Ms Franklin was herself a single mother to four boys.
▶ Aretha Franklin's Family Says Eulogy Was Offensive, Distasteful
The recent controversy is sadly not the only one to arise from Franklin’s funeral, with footage of Bishop Charles H Ellis III allegedly appearing to grope singer Ariana Grande’s left breast during a hug. Grande had performed a rendition of Franklin’s ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ and was sharing a podium with Ellis, who later made an attempt to clarify the situation. “It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast,” he stated to press after the event. “Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar. But again, I apologize.”
▶ Bishop at Aretha Franklin’s Funeral Apologizes to Ariana Grande for Touching Her, Taco Bell Joke
Regardless of such controversies – it is important to remember the life and work of the amazing lady who has been laid to rest – Aretha Franklin, the undisputed Queen of Soul.