Entertainment

Queen of Soul’s Funeral Services Are Rocked with Controversy

Aretha Franklin's family decries an African-American pastor's comments about improving the black community

Image Credit: ANDREW BIRAJ/AFP/Getty Images

These days, when anyone advocates on behalf of morality, virtue, and traditional values — like children raised with both a mother and a father in the home — the mainstream media and those on the far Left waste no time in vilifying that individual, as in the case of the Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. recently.

Jasper offered a fiery eulogy at Aretha Franklin’s funeral last Friday, declaring that “black America has lost its soul.”

He also said “black women are incapable of raising sons alone” and “the Black Lives Matter movement is unfounded in the face of black-on-black crime,” according to the Chicago Sun Times.

What’s more, he excoriated the Black Lives Matter movement altogether, in light of black-on-black crime.

“It amazes me how it is when the police kills one of us we’re ready to protest, march, destroy innocent property,” Williams said. “We’re ready to loot, steal whatever we want, but when we kill 100 of us, nobody says anything, nobody does anything. Black-on-black crime, we’re all doing time, we’re locked up in our mind, there’s got to be a better way, we must stop this today.”

Related: ‘Bloodiest City’ Chicago Now ‘Worse Than’ Al Capone Days, Dem Leader Says

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The pastor was not engaging in hyperbole.

Among black victims in 2017, 63 percent of violent victimizations were committed by black offenders, noted the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

It seems that many in the black community gloss over this ongoing travesty — and that’s what the pastor was calling out.

“No, black lives do not matter,” Williams said. “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.”

Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., a megachurch pastor, was handpicked to offer the eulogy last Friday in Detroit, Michigan, as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted recently — something the family is now disputing.

And critics, including the legendary singer’s family, are rebuking the pastor on social media and elsewhere, calling him racist and bigoted.

Ironically, while liberals cheered the insults against Trump that were made at Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) recent funeral, they are livid at a pastor’s pointed remarks on a topic of grave importance to the black community at Aretha Franklin’s service.

Vaughn Franklin, a nephew of the late singer, provided a statement to The Detroit Free Press on Monday.

“I want to speak on behalf of the Franklin family as it relates to the comments that Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. made on Friday during my aunt’s Celebration of Life service on Friday, August 31. We found the comments to be offensive and distasteful,” he said.

“Rev. Jasper Williams spent more than 50 minutes speaking and at no time did he properly eulogize her,” he continued.

“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.”

He continued, “Our family asked Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr. to perform the eulogy because he eulogized our grandfather (Rev. C. L. Franklin), my aunt (Erma Franklin) and my uncle (Cecil Franklin). 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.”

“We feel that Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr. used this platform to push his negative agenda,” he noted, “which as a family, we do not agree with.”

Related: Donald Trump Dissed at Aretha Franklin Funeral While Bill Clinton Goes Viral

The pastor, meanwhile, is standing firm — despite a barrage of condemnation.

“When you’re criticized as much as I’ve been, you don’t let it get to you,” Williams said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday. “I know where my heart and head are, and I’m willing to explain and talk about it.”

“I saw what is happening in black America today that is really leading us to lose our soul, so to speak,” he said.

Bear in mind, during the first weekend in August, black-on-black crime resulted in the shooting of 66 people in Chicago — 12 of them fatally.

See more on the pastor’s controversial comments in video below.

Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.

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