Aretha Franklin’s family disappointed with pastor’s controversial eulogy

Aretha Franklin performs onstage at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)


Aretha Franklin’s family is outraged and blasted the pastor who delivered an offensive eulogy which dishonored the legendary singer, slammed single Black mothers and the Black Lives Matter movement.

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Vaughn Franklin, the late singer’s nephew, released a statement and ripped Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. for his long-winded hypercritical speech about Black people that had little to do with the life and legacy of the Queen of Soul. The family said in a statement that Williams used the national platform to push his own failed agenda.

“I want to speak on behalf of the Franklin family as it relates to the comments that Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr. made on Friday during my aunt’s Celebration of Life service on Friday, August 31. We found the comments to be offensive and distasteful,” The statement obtained by USA Today begins.

“Rev. Jasper Williams spent more than 50 minutes speaking and at no time did he properly eulogize her.

“My aunt did not ask Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr. to eulogize her before she passed away because dying is a topic that she never discussed with anyone.

“Our family asked Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr. to perform the eulogy because he eulogized our grandfather (Rev. C. L. Franklin), my aunt (Erma Franklin) and my uncle (Cecil Franklin). However, there were several people that my aunt admired that would have been outstanding individuals to deliver her eulogy including Dr. William J. Barber, Rev. Al Sharpton, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Rev. James Holley and Pastor E.L. Branch.”

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Williams speech immediately received pushback for blasting the Black community, including from singer Stevie Wonder who took the stage after Williams to say that Black lives do matter after the pastor said in his offensive speech that “black lives must not matter.”

“Black lives must not matter until Black people start respecting Black lives and stop killing ourselves.”

The Atlanta pastor this week defended his controversial statements.

“I just wish somebody would understand my heart and understand what I’m trying to do. Instead of making mockery or creating difficulty, that hurt me more than anything else,” he said.

He even went on to say that Aretha Franklin’s father, who he eulogized, would have supported his controversial message.

“Because of the great contributor that she was to civil rights movement, I would think that if I’m doing something to turn black lives around that she would be pleased,” he said.

The family appears to have a different perspective.

“We feel that Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr. used this platform to push his negative agenda, which as a family, we do not agree with,” Vaughn Franklin said.