There’s a laundry list of things you can’t mess up at a funeral — the decor has to be on point, the singers can’t miss a note, the body has to be “done” right, etc. — however, at the top of that list is the eulogy. You can’t be out here messing up the eulogy! Unfortunately, no one told that to Rev. Jasper Williams Jr.
Rev. Williams took the pulpit at the home-going celebration of Aretha Franklin at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple on Friday, and after almost a week long of tributes, folks hung on these final words of the eulogy with baited breath. It’s quite the honor that was bestowed to the reverend, but in his 50-minute eulogy he unfortunately forgot one thing — to eulogize the Queen of Soul!
“Rev. Jasper Williams spent more than 50 minutes speaking and at no time did he properly eulogize her [Aretha Franklin],” Franklin’s nephew, Vaughn Franklin, said in a statement issued on behalf of the family Monday. “We feel that Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. used this platform to push his negative agenda, which as a family, we do not agree with.”
YIKES! You read that right, the family was none too pleased with Rev. Jasper and his off-color remarks that included digs at Black Lives Matters and single moms. “If you choose to ask me today ‘do Black Lives Matter?’ let me answer like this: No, black lives do not matter. Black lives will not matter. Black lives ought 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 said. Rev. Williams also likened children born into homes without fathers to “abortion after birth.”
“My aunt did not ask Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. to eulogize her before she passed away because dying is a topic that she never discussed with anyone,” Franklin said.”However, there were several people that my aunt admired that would have been outstanding individuals to deliver her eulogy including Dr. William J. Barber, Rev. Al Sharpton, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Rev. James Holley and Pastor E.L. Branch.”
In his defense, Rev. Williams says he believe Aretha would have been proud, “Because of the great contributor that she was to the civil rights movement and all that she gave, I would think that if I’m doing something to turn black America around, that she would be pleased.”
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