Reverend Jasper Williams Jr. of Salem Bible Church in Atlanta offended many people (including Aretha Franklin’s family) in a eulogy he gave at the Queen of Soul’s funeral on Friday.
He spent most of the 50 minutes he was given, “calling out black America” instead of honoring and remembering Aretha.
“Black America has lost its soul,” said Williams.
At one point, the Reverend stated that “a black woman cannot raise a black boy to be a man!” Knowing that Aretha Franklin raised four boys on her own. People took to social media to show their outrage.
A couple of his bolder statements included describing children at home without fathers as “aborted after birth” and stating that black lives do not matter “unless blacks stop killing each other.” Singer Stevie Wonder yelled “black lives matter!” from the crowd, while Williams was going on his rant.
“He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her,” said Vaughn Franklin, Aretha’s nephew.
“It was very, very distasteful,” Vaughn said in a statement he gave on behalf of his family.
“I was trying to show that the movement now is moving and should move in a different direction,” Williams said in defense of himself. “What we need to do is create respect among ourselves. Aretha is the person with that song ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T’ that is laid out for us and what we need to be as a race within ourselves. We need to show each other that. We need to show each other respect. That was the reason why I did it.”
Williams has not issued an apology, but stands by everything he said.
Williams eulogized Franklin’s father C.L. Franklin 34 years ago and said he was appointed by the family to give a eulogy at Aretha’s funeral, but the family said that was not the case. It was more of a courtesy. “The eulogy caught the entire family off guard,” said Vaughn. The family had no idea what Williams had planned.
Social media has been flooded with reactions over the weekend: