Aretha Franklin’s family criticise ‘distasteful’ eulogy at Queen of Soul’s funeral

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The family of Aretha Franklin say they were caught off guard by the eulogy delivered at her funeral, calling it “distasteful”.

Franklin’s eulogy was delivered by the Reverend Jasper Williams Jr, who had spoken at other memorials for family members, including her father, CL Franklin.

But his political address proved controversial, as he made statements including “black lives do no matter”, unless black people “stop killing each other” and said a home without a father was like “abortion after birth”.



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Rev Williams Jr also said black women cannot “raise black boys to be black men”, a comment deemed inappropriate by many as Franklin raised four boys as a single mother.

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In a statement, Franklin’s nephew Vaughn said: “He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogise her.

Flowers sit atop the casket at the funeral service for Aretha Franklin   Aretha Franklin’s family criticise ‘distasteful’ eulogy at Queen of Soul’s funeral skynews aretha franklin aretha 4407362
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Franklin died, aged 76, after suffering from pancreatic cancer

“It has been very, very distasteful.”

He added the eulogy “caught the entire family off guard” and said they had not discussed what would be said beforehand.

Mr Franklin said the family felt the other speakers had been “respectful”.

But Rev Williams Jr has been somewhat defiant, saying he was misunderstood.

He said: “I understand it. I regret it. But I’m sorry they feel that way.”

The reverend, who is the pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, faced resistance during the funeral, as Stevie Wonder shouted “black lives matter” when he took the stage.



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Rev Williams Jr told the Associated Press he felt his sermon had been appropriate, following other references to the civil rights movement and Donald Trump during the service.

He also said his comments on raising children and the Black Lives Matter movement had been “taken out of context”.



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He added: “I think Stevie Wonder did not understand what I said.

“I said blacks do not matter, because black lives cannot matter, will not matter, should not matter, must not matter until black people begin to respect their own lives.

“Then and only then will black lives matter.”

Franklin was an accomplished pianist throughout her career  Aretha Franklin’s family criticise ‘distasteful’ eulogy at Queen of Soul’s funeral skynews aretha franklin singer 4391980
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Franklin had raised her four children alone

It is the second time the funeral service has been mired in controversy, after the bishop leading the ceremony apologised for appearing to grope Ariana Grande, and for suggesting her name sounded like a menu item at Taco Bell.

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Franklin died, aged 76, after suffering from pancreatic cancer, on 16 August and was laid to rest after a seven-hour long funeral at her church, the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan.

She died without discussing funeral arrangements, and did not have a will.



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