Aretha Franklin’s family have today come out to criticise Rev. Jasper Williams Jr.’s “offensive and distasteful” eulogy for the late star and Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, at her funeral last week.
In a statement on behalf of the family, Aretha’s nephew Vaughn Franklin said the Atlanta pastor “spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her.” The Rev then went on to discuss views on Black Lives Matter, single parenthood, and more, none of which had been mentioned to the family in advance and “caught the entire family off guard,” Vaughn Franklin told AP News.
“We feel that Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr. used this platform to push his negative agenda, which as a family, we do not agree with.”
Williams, responding to the statement said, “I understand it. I regret it. But I’m sorry they feel that way.” One of Williams’ more controversial statements, notably, that black-on-black crime devalues the Black Lives Matter movement, received a fierce response from Stevie Wonder at the funeral, AP reports.
Williams had said, “Black lives must not matter until black people start respecting black lives and stop killing ourselves.” When he added, “No, black lives do not matter,” Wonder yelled out, “Black lives matter.”
Williams also said that a black mother alone can’t raise a black boy to be a man, describing children living in fatherless homes as “abortion after birth.” With Aretha Franklin, herself, raising four boys as a single mother this seems an entirely bizarre comment.