Aretha Franklin’s family is calling Rev. Jasper Williams eulogy of the Queen of Soul offensive and distasteful.
The legendary pastor was criticized on social media for his eulogy that described children being in a home without a father as “abortion after birth” and said black lives do not matter unless blacks stop killing each other.
“He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her,” Vaughn Franklin said, in a statement delivered for the family.
His eulogy “caught the entire family off guard,” he added. “It has been very, very distasteful.”
Williams heard resistance from one of the event’s many celebrity guests. Singer Stevie Wonder yelled out “black lives matter” after the pastor said, “No, black lives do not matter” during his eulogy.
The eulogist described children being in a home without a father as “abortion after birth” and said black lives do not matter unless blacks stop killing each other.
He also said “there are no fathers in the home no more” and said that a black woman cannot raise a black boy to be a man. Some people suggested that was disrespectful of Aretha Franklin, a single mother of four boys.
The family selected Williams because he has spoken at other family memorials in the past, most prominently at the funeral for Franklin’s father, minister and civil rights activist C.L. Franklin, 34 years ago.
Williams has not backed down from anything he said at the funeral and said he respects the family’s opinion. “I understand it,” he said. “I regret it. But I’m sorry they feel that way.”
Williams had minimized the Black Lives Matter movement because of black-on-black crime. “Black lives must not matter until black people start respecting black lives and stop killing ourselves.”