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Aretha's Family Calls Eulogy "Offensive And Distasteful"
By Atlantic Records (Billboard, page 9, 15 July 1967) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Aretha’s Family Calls Eulogy “Offensive And Distasteful”

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DETROIT (CelebrityAccess) — The family of the late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin criticized the eulogy delivered at her funeral by Rev. Jasper Williams Jr.’s eulogy as “offensive and distasteful,” in a statement to the Associated Press.

The family took Williams to task for politicizing the 40-minute eulogy, which included criticism of single-mothers raising children and “black-on-black crime.”

“Rev. Jasper Williams spent more than 50 minutes speaking and at no time did he properly eulogize her,” Vaughn Franklin, the late singer’s nephew, said in a statement on behalf of his family.

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

Some of William’s comments during the eulogy seemed particularly tone deaf. He described children being raised by a single mother as “abortion after birth.”

“Seventy percent of our households are led by our precious, proud, fine black women,” Williams said during the eulogy. “But as proud, beautiful and fine as our black women are, one thing a black woman cannot do: A black woman cannot raise a black boy to be a man. She can’t do that.”

Franklin raised four sons as a single mother.

According to the Associated Press, Williams has not backed away from his comments but noted that he respects the family’s views. “I understand it,” Williams told the Associated Press. “I regret it. But I’m sorry they feel that way.”

The eulogy is the second moment of controversy from the 9-hour funeral service. Ariana Grande, who performed at the event, appeared to have been groped on stage by Bishop Charles Ellis III, who led the service.

In photos of the incident, Ellis can be seen with his arm around Grande shoulders, with his hand on her breast.

He has since apologized for what he described as ‘too-friendly’ contact.

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