Seven hours into Aretha Franklin’s 10-hour homegoing service, the Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. took to the pulpit to eulogize the R&B legend. He was criticized soon after for the controversial sermon, in which he called children in homes without a father “abortion after birth.” He also criticized the Black Lives Matter Movement, saying Black lives won’t matter until Blacks stop killing each other.
The family of Aretha Franklin has since shared its own thoughts on the eulogy, calling it “distasteful.”
Vaughn Franklin, nephew of the “Chain of Fools” singer, had this to say about Rev. Williams in a statement from the family:
“He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her… it caught the entire family off guard. It has been very, very distasteful.”
Vaughn called the move unfortunate, as everyone else who participated in the service was very respectful. Williams responded, apologizing for making them “feel that way” while ultimately sticking to his guns.
“I understand it,” he said. “I regret it. But I’m sorry they feel that way.”
Another man of the cloth found himself apologizing after Franklin’s funeral as well, according to Uproxx. Bishop Charles H. Ellis III apologized after being accused of groping Ariana Grande onstage as well as for making a Taco Bell joke in reference to her last name.
What was up with that pastors hand? pic.twitter.com/M8Ypgm7fQB
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) August 31, 2018
“It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast,” said Bishop Ellis. “Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar. Everybody that was up, I shook their hands and hugged them. That’s what we are all about in the church. We are all about love. I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.