Artist News

Aretha Franklin’s family criticise pastor over politically charged eulogy

By | Published on Tuesday 4 September 2018

Aretha Franklin

One of Aretha Franklin’s nephews has criticised Rev Jasper Williams Jr over the eulogy he delivered at the late queen of soul’s funeral last week. The comments by Vaughn Franklin follow a flurry of criticism online over the pastor’s 50 minute speech.

Williams’ comments on the Black Lives Matter movement caused particular controversy, as did his remark that children being brought up without a father at home constituted “abortion after birth”. Many pointed out that the latter statement was particularly distasteful given Franklin herself was a single mother of four sons.

Subsequently defending his speech, Williams said that perhaps he didn’t have time to properly explain his more controversial opinions. This despite him being given a 50 minute slot at the lengthy eight hour service honouring Franklin.

He told the Associated Press over the weekend: “I’m sure much of the negativity is due to the fact that they don’t understand what I’m talking about”. On his comments about Black Lives Matter, he said: “Anybody who thinks black America is all right as we are now is crazy. We’re not all right. It’s a lot of change that needs to occur”.

“This change must come from within us”, he then added. “Nobody can give us things to eliminate where we are. We have to change from within ourselves. It is ludicrous for the church not to be involved. The church is the only viable institution we have in the African-American community. We must step up and turn our race around”.

Also speaking to the AP, Vaughn Franklin noted that – despite having 50 minutes for his eulogy – Williams didn’t actually do a great deal of eulogising of his late aunt. The younger Franklin, who says his views reflect those of the wider family, told the news agency: “He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogise her”.

He added that Williams had been picked to speak at the funeral because he had performed that role at previous family events. His aunt hadn’t specifically asked for a eulogy from the pastor, she having said little about her funeral before her death.

The nephew also said that the political and controversial nature of Williams’ speech had “caught the entire family off guard”. He concluded: “It [was] very, very distasteful”.