In Rev. Jasper Williams Jr.‘s eulogy, the pastor described children being in a home without a father as “abortion after birth” and said black lives do not matter unless blacks stop killing each other. The remarks have been called distasteful and offensive in a statement from the Queen of Soul’s family.
“He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her,” Vaughn Franklin, the late singer’s nephew, said, according to CNN. Vaughn also said that Williams’ eulogy “caught the entire family off guard,” and that the family had not discussed what Williams would say in advance.
Vaughn said that Franklin never asked Williams to eulogize her. However, he was chosen because he has spoken at other family memorials in the past, including Franklin’s father, minister and civil rights activist C.L. Franklin, 34 years ago.
During his eulogy, Williams spoke on the black lives matter movement, as well as said that black women cannot raise a boy to be a man, the latter of which was seen as disrespectful to Franklin, considering she was a single mother of four boys.
“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,” Williams said. “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.”
In related news, a bishop from the funeral is also facing backlash for groping Ariana Grande, who was also in attendance for the memorial service.
“It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast. I don’t know I guess I put my arm around her,” Bishop Charles H. Ellis III said. The apology came after images and video began to circulate of an uncomfortable Grande attempting to keep her distance from the Bishop as he wrapped his arm around her back and groped the side of her chest at the podium.
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