Professor Michael Eric Dyson Slams Donald Trump at Aretha Franklin’s Funeral

Michael Eric Dyson slammed Donald Trump at Aretha Franklin’s funeral on August 31. Dyson took his opportunity at the podium to take aim at the president’s claim that Franklin “worked for” Trump. Dyson is a Georgetown University professor and Detroit native, and during his celebration of Franklin’s life, the professor said of the president, “You lugubrious leach. You dopey doppelgänger of deceit and deviance. She ain’t work for you. She worked above you. She worked beyond you.”

Dyson knew Franklin for 15 years. He recalls to NPR the many times Franklin would call him with a question about politics, archaeology, and more, over the duration of their friendship. “She had a tremendous sense of humor,” Dyson says. “Aretha Franklin gave me that gift of knowing him intimately, vicariously.”

Dyson recently penned an op-ed piece for The New York Times, in which offers further details of his historic friendship with Franklin. He writes, “There have been many popes. Ain’t but one Aretha Franklin… It embodied the emotional intensity that was gathered in a woman whose body bore the marks of her emotional suffering, but the joys and highs of black existence, the struggles, the protest, the resistance, the celebrations.”

In the piece, Dyson explains that he first became acquainted with Aretha after listening to the words of her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin. “I was barely 6 years old and I sat, transfixed, by the record. Franklin was a down-home preacher whose sermons showcased his earthy squall, which could resolve in dramatic whisper. He was a master of the chanted sermon, where words are put under pressure of music and speech bursts into song.” From his mother, he says, he inherited his love for Aretha.

Michael Eric Dyson

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Dyson, who has authored more than 20 books centering on subjects like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Marvin Gay, Nas, Bill Cosby, and Tupac Shakur, is largely recognized as an academic and political analyst who speaks on the subject of modern American culture in prisons, classrooms, churches, and on various news segments. He has been named by Essence as one of the 30 most inspiring African Americans, and by Ebony as one of the 100 most influential black Americans.

Dyson was born in Detroit, Michigan, and became an ordained Baptist minister at age 19. He graduated magna cum laude from Carson-Newman College, and went on to earn his PhD in religion from Princeton University. Along with being a professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, where one of the classes he teaches is “The Sociology of Hip Hop: Jay Z”, Dyson has taught at Chicago Theological Seminary, Brown University, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania, among others.

He is expected to take speak at Franklin’s funeral today at 1:48pm.

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