Some people are publicly criticizing the Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. for his remarks during Aretha Franklin’s homegoing service. Williams, a pastor based in Atlanta, is a friend of Franklin’s family, who also eulogized her father, C.L. Franklin, in 1984.
However, Williams is facing backlash for his fiery eulogy that touched on Black-on-Black violence, single-parent households, and Black Lives Matter.
“It amazes me how it is that 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.”
Based on that, Williams concluded, “Black lives don’t matter.”
“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,” he went on to say. “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,” Williams said.
It could be viewed as a slap in the face for the social groups that are doing work to end crime in the Black community, such as Build Inc. in Chicago; the gang prevention organization A Better LA in Los Angeles; and Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative in Detroit.
Williams also claimed that Black-on-Black violence kills more Black people than the Ku Klux Klan. However, violence often occurs with people who have close proximity to each other in terms of race and relationships. Comparing intraracial violence to violence committed by a terrorist organization like the KKK was another misguided statement.
According to a study done by Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2017, most violence is intraracial. Among Black victims, 63 percent of violent victimizations were committed by Black offenders. Among White victims, 57 percent of victimizations were committed by White offenders.
Williams also faced backlash for what some viewed as sexist remarks against single mothers who work to provide better lives for their children.
“Seventy percent of our households are led by our precious, proud, fine Black women,” Williams said. “But as proud, beautiful and fine as our Black women are, one thing a Black woman cannot do. A Black woman cannot raise a Black boy to be a man. She can’t do that. She can’t do that.”
Here’s how Black Twitter responded:
What Wiiliams did was give fuel to racists who perpetuate the myth of black women being responsible for the downfall of black men, a bald faced lie. White supremacists are rejoicing this morning that we ate our own on stage. Rev. Jasper Williams Jr.
— Achelois Circe (@SerpensCauda4) September 1, 2018
Rev Jasper Williams did not deliver a eulogy at #ArethaHomegoing at Greater Grace Temple. Rather he engaged in a dangerous pathology and public shaming of black life. What is remarkable was that every other speaker was uplifting except Rev Williams.
— BANKOLE THOMPSON (@BankoleDetNews) September 1, 2018
Dear #JasperWilliams. I am a Black man who was raised predominantly by a Black woman.I have never slaughtered my people&never will. I own my own business.I’m one of a very few African Americans with a James Beard Award.I have two.I’m gay&a productive citizen.Bless your heart.
— Michael W. Twitty (@KosherSoul) September 1, 2018
What is really dead about the black church is preachers who don’t know how to discern the times, like Jasper Williams. The music and the culture still breathes life into folks. The hypocrisy, not so much.
— ProfB (@AntheaButler) August 31, 2018
Jasper Williams cannot come to the cookout. He has to take a plate to go with Omarosa & Kanye…
— Fortitude1913 (@Fortitude1913) September 1, 2018