Aretha Franklin’s Family Denounces Reverend’s ‘Distasteful’ Eulogy

By Sameer Rao Sep 04, 2018

Social media users weren’t the only ones who took issue with Reverend Jasper Williams Jr.’s eulogy at the late Aretha Franklin‘s homegoing service in Detroit on Friday (August 31).

“He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her,” Vaughn Franklin told The Associated Press today (September 4), on behalf of his family.

Franklin told The AP that the family chose Reverend Williams because he previously eulogized the singer’s father, pastor and civil rights action organizer Reverend. C.L. Franklin, and other relatives; his aunt did not ask for him to speak at her service. The AP notes that Williams criticized households led by single Black mothers and said that “Black lives must not matter until Black people start respecting Black lives and stop killing ourselves." The AP adds that the latter remark prompted an immediate retort of "Black lives matter" from Stevie Wonder, who performed after the eulogy.

“It has been very, very distasteful,” Vaughn Franklin said. He also told The AP that the family did not vet the eulogy before he spoke.

“I understand it,” Williams told The AP in response to the family’s statement. “I regret it. But I’m sorry they feel that way.”