AceShowbiz - Aretha Franklin's family wasn't pleased with an Atlanta pastor's eulogy at her funeral, which was held on Friday, August 31. The eulogist, Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., has been criticized on social media for a political address that described children being raised in a home without a "provider" father and a mother as the "nurturer" as "abortion after birth." He also said black lives do not matter unless "black people start respecting black lives and stop killing ourselves."
On Monday, the late singer's nephew, Vaughn Franklin, reacted to the pastor's eulogy on behalf of Aretha's family. "He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her," Vaughn said as he was delivering a statement for the family. Vaughn added that Jasper's eulogy "caught the entire family off guard." Describing it as "very, very distasteful" and unfortunate, Vaughn said the family had not discussed what the pastor would say in advance.
Vaughn said his aunt never asked Rev. Jasper to deliver a eulogy at her funeral, since she didn't talk about plans for her own funeral. The family chose Jasper to speak at the star-studded ceremony because he had spoken at other family memorials in the past, such as the funeral of Aretha's father, minister and civil rights activist C.L. Franklin, 34 years ago.
Jasper's "black lives do not matter" remark was met with criticism right at the ceremony as singer Stevie Wonder yelled out "black lives matter" during the former's eulogy. Social media users, meanwhile, saw Jasper's speech as a dig toward Aretha, who was a single mother to four children.
Responding to the family's statement, Jasper said his remarks about black women being incapable of raising sons alone were taken out of context. "Here's the root of what I've been talking about: In order to change America, we must change black America's culture," he explained. "We must do it through parenting. In order for the parenting to go forth, it has to be done in the home. The home."
Still, he respects the opinion of Aretha's family. "I understand it," Jasper said. "I regret it. But I'm sorry they feel that way."