Aretha Franklin's family says Atlanta pastor's eulogy was offensive

The late Aretha Franklin's family said Monday that it found an Atlanta pastor's eulogy delivered at the Queen of Soul's funeral last week to be offensive and distasteful.

The eulogist, the Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., was criticized for a political address 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. Franklin's funeral was on Friday.

[PHOTOS: Aretha Franklin through the years]

"He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her," said Vaughn Franklin, the late singer's nephew, who said he was delivering a statement for the family.

His eulogy "caught the entire family off guard," Franklin said. The family had not discussed what Williams would say in advance, he said.

"It has been very, very distasteful," he said.

He said it was unfortunate because everyone else who participated in the ceremony was very respectful.

[READ: Atlanta pastor to give eulogy at Aretha Franklin's funeral]

Williams is a pastor emeritus of the Salem Bible Church in Atlanta.

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."

[PHOTOS: Aretha Franklin fans pay respects at viewings in Detroit]

Besides a social media uproar, Williams heard resistance at the funeral itself. Singer Stevie Wonder yelled out "black lives matter" after the pastor said, "No, black lives do not matter" during his eulogy.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report

Atlanta Pastor Defends Aretha Franklin Eulogy

The Atlanta pastor who made controversial remarks at Aretha Franklin's funeral is defending what he said. Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr. says he knew his message would upset some people. https://2wsb.tv/2LV4tQI

Posted by WSB-TV on Sunday, September 2, 2018
Comments on this article