Edgy remarks made by Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. at Aretha Franklin’s funeral last Friday have drawn criticism from the Franklin family for failing to properly eulogize the Queen of Soul.
Williams was chosen by the family because he had eulogized family members in the past, including Rev. C.L. Franklin, Aretha’s father, whose funeral was 34 years prior.
In particular, Williams caused controversy with remarks that single mothers can’t raise black boys properly as men and that the Black Lives Matter movement isn’t effective unless African Americans stop killing one another first.
“Rev. Jasper Williams spent more than 50 minutes speaking and at no time did he properly eulogize her,” nephew Vaughn Franklin told People on Friday, in a statement given to various outlets on behalf of the 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 added.
Vaughn told the Associated Press that Williams’ fiery words “caught the entire family off guard.”
Williams, who is pastor emeritus at Salem Bible Church in Atlanta, stood by his remarks at a news conference over the weekend.
“No one else was asked to bring the eulogy but me. So I feel that it is appropriate for me to say what I want to say and how it is that I want to say it, because I was the only one asked to do the eulogy,” the minister said.
Soul singer Aretha Franklin in a publicity shot circa 1964.(Getty Images)
Aretha Franklin recording at Columbia Studios in New York in 1962.(Donaldson Collection / Getty Images)
Aretha Franklin during the taping of a television show in Cologne, Germany, in 1968.(Associated Press)
Aretha Franklin performing on Jan. 28, 1972.(Associated Press)
Aretha Franklin on the red carpet before the 38th Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., where she performed in December 2015.(Molly Riley / AFP / Getty Images)
Aretha Franklin at a news conference March 26, 1973.(Associated Press)
Aretha Franklin is taken into custody by a police officer at the Rome airport on June 28, 1971, after an Italian concert organizer accused her of breach of contract. Franklin was released after a luggage search.(Associated Press)
Franklin poses with her Grammy Award for female R&B performance for “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” in New York on March 3, 1975. She won the category eight years in a row, a record that still stands.(Associated Press)
Aretha Franklin and her second husband, Glynn Turman, at their wedding reception in Los Angeles on April 17, 1978, along with Kecalf, 8, Aretha’s son by a previous marriage. Franklin gave birth to four children, all sons.(Doug Pizac / Associated Press)
With her shoes in one hand and the award for soul album of the year in the other, Aretha Franklin celebrates being honored at the 10th American Music Awards in Los Angeles on Jan. 17, 1983.(Reed Saxon / Associated Press)
Franklin with MTV’s Alan Hunt and other members of the “Amuck in America” crew at her West Bloomfield, Mich., home, on Aug. 1, 1986.(Associated Press)
Franklin joins George Michael onstage at the Auburn Hills, Mich., stop of his Faith World Tour on Aug. 30, 1988. The duo had a hit together with 1986’s “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).”(Robert Kozloff / Associated Press)
Aretha Franklin sings during the finale of “Aretha Franklin: Duets,” an AIDS benefit concert in New York on April 28, 1993. Others onstage include Smokey Robinson, Gloria Estefan, Rod Stewart, Bonnie Raitt, Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro.(Ron Frehm / Associated Press)
Aretha Franklin raises her arms in jubilation after standing in for Luciano Pavarotti at the last minute at the 40th Grammy Awards on Feb. 25, 1998, at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Franklin sang “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s “Turandot” when Pavarotti called in sick.(Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)
Aretha Franklin joins Martha Stewart for the 1999 TV special “Martha Stewart Home for the Holidays – The Family Tree” on CBS.(Todd Atkinson / CBS)
President George W. Bush presents Franklin with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony on Nov. 9, 2005.(Douglas A. Sonders / Getty Images)
Franklin with “Soul Train" host and producer Don Cornelius on “Divas and Kings 2000 & Beyond” in 2001.(Tribune Entertainment / Getty Images)
Aretha Franklin performs at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Sept. 17, 2004.(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Host Hugh Jackman gets up close and personal with Franklin after their duet at the 2005 Tony Awards at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on June 5, 2005.(Kathy Willens / Associated Press)
Franklin is joined by Quincy Jones, left, and Clive Davis backstage at “An Evening of Stars Tribute to Aretha Franklin” on Sept. 9, 2006, in Los Angeles.(Associated Press)
Franklin performs at the 50th Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 10, 2008.(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
Aretha Franklin sings at the inauguration of President Obama on Jan. 20, 2009.(Mark Wilson / Getty Images)
Franklin performs at the Hollywood Bowl on June 26, 2009.(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Franklin in concert at the Microsoft Theatre in L.A. on Aug. 2, 2015.(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
Aretha Franklin performs the national anthem before an NFL game between the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings in her adopted hometown of Detroit on Nov. 24, 2016.(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)
“I sat there for seven hours almost before I got a chance to do what I was asked to do,” Williams said. “So I couldn’t get all the intricacies that I wanted in the message because it was too much time. People had grown weary of the hour.”
That’s contrary to the tactic taken by Bishop Charles H. Ellis III of Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple, who apologized after he was criticized for his behavior and jokes toward Ariana Grande during the funeral.
“[M]aybe I was too friendly or familiar,” Ellis told the Associated Press. He was accused of groping the singer and making a joke that made fun of Latinos.
Williams’ comments were far from the arena of jokes, however.
“Seventy percent of our households are led by our precious, proud, fine black women,” he said. “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.”
Of violence against African Americans by police, Williams said, “If you choose to ask me today, do black lives matter, let me answer like this: No, black lives do not matter. Black lives will not matter. Black lives ought not matter. Black lives should not matter. Black lives must not matter. Until black people start respecting black lives and stop killing ourselves, black lives can never matter.”
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