Saturday, May 25, 2024

Aretha Franklin’s Family ‘Caught off Guard’ by Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. ‘Distasteful’ Eulogy

*As previously reported, Aretha Franklin’s eulogist sparked criticism from folks who accused him of being homophobic, sexist and demeaning to black people.

The late singer’s family said they were “caught off guard” by the comments and found Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. eulogy offensive and distasteful.

Speaking at the funeral of the legendary performer on Friday, Williams Jr. of the Salem Baptist Church in Atlanta said that black lives do not matter — and noted that “black America has lost its soul.” He also minimized the Black Lives Matter movement because of black-on-black crime., Chicago Tribune reported.

The late singer’s family said they were “caught off guard” by the comments and found the eulogy offensive and distasteful.

“He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her,” said Vaughn Franklin, the late singer’s nephew, who said he was delivering a statement for the family.

OTHER NEWS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Aretha’s Funeral: Minute by Minute, Performance by Performance Breakdown & More

His eulogy “caught the entire family off guard,” he said. “It has been very, very distasteful.”

Franklin said that his aunt never asked Williams to eulogize her, since she didn’t talk about plans for her own funeral. The family selected the reverend because he has spoken at the funeral for Franklin’s father, minister and civil rights activist C.L. Franklin, 34 years ago, the report states.

In a Sunday night interview with The Associated Press, Williams Jr. said he stood by his remarks.

“I was trying to show that the movement now is moving and should move in a different direction,” he explained. “… [W]hat we need to do is create respect among ourselves. Aretha is the person with that song ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T’ that is laid out for us and what we need to be as a race within ourselves. We need to show each other that. We need to show each other respect. That was the reason why I did it.”

Williams Jr. said his remarks were in response to those who spoke at Franklin’s funeral about the civil rights movement.

“Anybody who thinks black America is all right as we are now is crazy,” he added. “We’re not all right. It’s a lot of change that needs to occur. This change must come from within us.

“Nobody can give us things to eliminate where we are. We have to change from within ourselves,” Williams Jr. explained. “It is ludicrous for the church not to be involved. The church is the only viable institution we have in the African-American community. We must step up and turn our race around.”

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