Aretha Franklin’s family is speaking out about the eulogy delivered at her funeral last week, saying it was “offensive” and “very, very distasteful.”
Vaughn Franklin, the late singer’s nephew, criticized Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. for his statement that black lives “don’t matter,” and his characterization of children being raised by single mothers as “abortion after birth.”
“He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her,” Franklin, who was speaking on behalf of the family, told The Associated Press Monday.
He added that the Atlanta pastor’s remarks “caught the entire family off guard,” and said Williams’ words were “very, very distasteful.”
The Queen of Soul’s relatives chose Williams because he previously spoke at other family funerals, including the service for Franklin’s father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, 34 years ago.
During his remarks on Friday in Detroit, Williams took issue with the Black Lives Matter movement because of black-on-black crime.
“If you choose to ask me today — Do black lives matter? Let me answer like this. No. Black lives do not matter,” he stated. “Black lives will 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.”
He also said far too many African-American children are raised by single mothers.
“Seventy percent of our households are led by our precious, proud, fine black women. 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,” he said.
Williams was heavily criticized on social media with some saying he gave a “plantation style” speech.
The pastor initially defended his comments.
“Respect for each other is the key to us changing the road we are on as a race,” he said at a news conference Sunday, but later told the AP he understands the family’s feelings.
“I regret it. But I’m sorry they feel that way,” he said.