Dearly Beloved, We Are Gathered Here Today…

September 18, 2018

On March 25, 1942, a queen was born. The Queen of Soul to be specific. Her name was Aretha Franklin and on August 16, 2018, Aretha soared to a new home in the sky. August 31 2018, was when her 8 hour long funeral was televised and lots of controversy came up from that funeral.  

Many gathered at 10 am for the celebration of Aretha Franklin’s life, but that turned into a disaster. Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Atlanta, had delivered a eulogy that had came across as “distasteful” and “inappropriate”. The eulogy had briefly mentioned Aretha’s accomplishments in life and achievements, but ended up being mostly over critiquing black parenting and “black on black crime.”  His eulogy included “The only thing black America needs today more than anything else, he said, “is to come back home to God . . . A home is what I see black people need more than a house. A house is structural, but a home is spiritual.” He added “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,”.”Right in your own neighborhoods, where your church is, there are struggling single moms, that don’t know what to do. That needs a man in the house through mentoring programs and parenting our children, we can turn black America around,” he said. “The Queen of Soul has spoken now, time now for black America to come back home.” Many fans and family of Franklin were angered by this 50 minute eulogy because she wasn’t “properly eulogized” at her own funeral. Franklin’s nephew, Vaughn Franklin, had said in a statement given 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,” Vaughn Franklin said. Jasper had issued a statement about the controversial eulogy and had said “I know it’s controversial,” “When you’re criticized as much as I’ve been, you don’t let it get to you. “I know where my heart and head are, and I’m willing to explain and talk about it.” On his stance on single black moms, Jasper had told a reporter…

“The way that you are internalizing that they felt is incorrect. I did not mean they are unable to raise their children. I am talking about many single women struggling to raise their children. And in the black community, there is no mentoring for the children and that when a boy is there, for example, and when 70 percent of our households are headed by our precious women. And as precious, beautiful and proud as they are, they cannot teach a boy how to be a man.

“So one of the ails and ills we have in the African-American community is that too many of our homes are headed by women without men in the house. Now, it’s been too many women who have raised excellent men. Jesse Jackson, one of my dearest friends, was raised by a single mom. But the women need help in their homes and our race needs to become sensitive to that.”

More of his defending of his eulogy can be found on

Also, at the funeral Pastor Charles H. Ellis III had also gotten caught up in controversy. At the funeral pop star, Ariana Grande, was scheduled to perform and after her performance Ellis had came up to her saying the words “When I saw Ariana Grande at the program, I thought that was a new something at Taco Bell,”. While saying it he had his arm around her waist as his fingers remained pressed into the right side of her chest for more than 30 seconds. He had also praised her for her performance and referring her to being an “icon” while still firmly hugging her with his hand continually being on her chest. This was acknowledged when author, Mona Eltahawy had tweeted

I don’t care what you think about Ariana Grande, her music or her dress. This is wrong. That bishop’s hand should not be on her breast: I just saw this because I’ve been working and not watching

— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) September 1, 2018

The video she attached with the tweet has gained more than two million views. The people had responded with #RespectAriana which had trended all over. Pastor Ellis had responded to the attempted groping and had told  The Associated Press.  “It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast.” “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,” Bishop Ellis has also said. “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.” Fans had also attacked him for his joke comparing her name to a Taco Bell item and he responded with, “Listen, maybe it’s just a joke that went bad,” he said. “But when you’re doing a program for nine hours, you know, you try to keep it lively, you try to make some funny references and what have you.” “If it was taken to be an offensive statement, I apologize.”


In the midst of all that controversy, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, was laid to rest and now another legend is at peace in the year of 2018.

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