As dramatic as it was losing the Aretha Franklin last week, Franklin’s funeral was just as intense but the drama had to do with everything but the Queen of Soul.
Yesterday as Franklin laid resting, Ariana Grande sang a beautiful rendition of the late singer’s “Natural Woman.” As great as she sounded, it may have gotten some men in the Congregation more excited in other ways.
When Grande finished, Bishop Charles H. Ellis III glorified her singing while awkwardly placing his hand on her side catching some side boob in the process.
“When I saw Ariana Grande at the program, I thought that was a new something at Taco Bell,” he said jokingly. “Girl, let me give you all your respect. Did you all enjoy this icon?” he asked the audience. “She’s an icon herself.”
As he is giving his praise, it really isn’t hard to see Grande’s uncomfortable body language as Bishop Ellis pulled her in closer. Well social media blew up and the carnage must’ve made it back to Bishop Ellis because he immediately released an apology for the ordeal.
I really hope @ArianaGrande files criminal charges against that disgusting, racist, perverted Pastor asap. Poor thing. Smfh
— NYCJazi (@nycjazi) September 1, 2018
Look at the eyes, the body language.
This is the leer of a predator marking prey. @ArianaGrande is trying to figure out whether to fight or flee, but she’s there to do a job, everyone is watching, and just like so many other victims — she already froze.#ChurchToo
— Sarah McDugal (@sarahmcdugal) September 1, 2018
I just saw a video of @ArianaGrande at the funeral…Why didn’t he just put his hand over her shoulder…it’s inexcusable the way he was holding her…best approach and respectable one, not touch her at all… pic.twitter.com/qLRHTzpRl5
— EL30 (@americanpio) September 1, 2018
“It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast,” the pastor, Bishop Charles H. Ellis III, told The Associated Press. “Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar but again, I apologize.”
“I hug all the female artists and the male artists,” he continued. “Everybody that was up, I shook their hands and hugged them. That’s what we are all about in the church. We are all about love.”
He also added: “The last thing I want to do is to be a distraction to this day. This is all about Aretha Franklin.”
He included an apologize to the Hispanic community as well for the Taco Bell joke that also went wrong. “I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community. When you’re doing a program for nine hours you try to keep it lively, you try to insert some jokes here and there. If it was taken to be an offensive statement, I apologize.”
Ellis isn’t lying about that one as the funeral was an all day service. Grande performed with a slew of other artists including Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson.