- 04 Sep 18
The legendary soul singer sadly passed away last month after suffering from pancreatic cancer.
Aretha Franklin's family have criticised the conduct of the reverend who conducted the eulogy of their late relative at her funeral last week, telling Reuters in a statement that "we found the comments to be offensive and distasteful".
The service, held in Detroit, was given by Rev. Jasper Williams Jr of the Salem Baptist Church in Atlanta, who used his sermon to speak on matters beyond merely the life and passing of the music icon, who passed away on the 16th of August at the age of 76.
He referred to issues that he believes are pertinent to the black community today such as the Black Lives Matter movement and single parenting in households, saying that "there are not fathers in the home no more" and questioning the capability of a black woman to raise a boy on her own. Many have viewed the comments to be offensive towards Franklin, who herself was a single mother of four boys.
"Right in your own neighborhoods, where your church is, there are struggling single moms, that don't know what to do. That need a man in the house through mentoring programs and parenting our children, we can turn black America around," he insisted.
In the statement, her family stated that they didn't agree with the pastor's "negative agenda", adding that he'd supposedly spent more than 50 minutes speaking without eulogizing her properly.
They claimed to have been caught completely off-guard by the content of the eulogy as although they had not discussed it with the pastor beforehand, all performers and speakers before him and conducted themselves with the utmost respect. Williams was asked to speak as he had eulogised several family members of Aretha Franklin's in the past.
He initially defended his comments on Sunday, though a statement released via a spokesperson on Monday said that he respects the point of view of Franklin's family and is sorry for how they feel.
He admitted: "I understand it. I regret it. But I'm sorry they feel that way."