The Queen of Soul was laid to rest in Detroit on Friday (31.08.18) but her loved ones are unhappy with Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. for neglecting to honour her memory and disparaging single mothers and the black lives matter movement in his speech.
Her nephew Vaughn Franklin, speaking on behalf of the family, said in a statement: “We found the comments to be offensive and distasteful.
“Rev. Jasper Williams spent more than 50 minutes speaking and at no time did he properly eulogise her.”
And Vaughn admitted he wished they had asked someone else to deliver the eulogy instead of the pastor, who was chosen because of his involvement in previous family funerals.
He continued: “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.”
During his speech at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, the pastor said there are “not fathers in the home no more” and that a black woman cannot raise a black boy to be a man, as well as proclaiming: “Black lives must not matter until black people start respecting black lives and stop killing ourselves.”
And Vaughn criticised Williams for using the funeral of his aunt – who was a single mother to four sons – to “push his negative agenda”.
He continued: “We feel that Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr. used this platform to push his negative agenda, which as a family, we do not agree with.”
After the eulogy was delivered, Stevie Wonder appeared to address the comments when he took to the stage.
He was applauded as he said: “We need to make love great again because black lives do matter, because all lives do matter.”
The pastor “regrets” upsetting Aretha’s family and respects their opinion.
He said: “I understand it. I regret it. But I’m sorry they feel that way.”