On August 31st, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, was laid to rest. Dozens of influential figures appeared at the ceremony to pay their respects, from former president Bill Clinton, to the Reverend Al Sharpton, to Ariana Grande. But when it came time to eulogize the world-renowned singer, Reverend Jasper Williams Jr. delivered a speech that Franklin’s family has since condemned as “offensive and distasteful.”
The pastor also said that a single mother “cannot raise a black boy to be a man” (Franklin herself was a single mother to four sons).
In a statement issued on September 3rd to the Detroit Free Press, the singer’s nephew, Vaughn Franklin, wrote that the Franklin family found the eulogy “offensive and distasteful.”
Franklin’s nephew explained that Williams had been selected for the eulogy because he had eulogized other family members, including Franklin’s father, Reverend C.L. Franklin. However, he ended his statement by saying the family was unhappy with Williams’ performance.
Many agreed with the Franklin family, tweeting that Williams’ eulogy didn’t do the legendary singer justice.
In a September 1st interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Williams stood by his eulogy, saying,
No matter where one stands on Reverend Williams’ eulogy, we think we can all agree that Aretha Franklin was an icon and should be remembered for her incredible life—not the words of one man.