Skip to content

Aretha Franklin’s family condemns Rev. Jasper Williams for controversial eulogy

Photo: via Salem Bible Church

Rev. Jasper Williams continues to face backlash following his controversial eulogy at Aretha Franklin’s homegoing service in Detroit. Instead of focusing on the contributions that Franklin made in music and to the community, Rev. Williams took the opportunity to question the Black Lives Matter movement and blast single mothers.

“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,” Williams said during the eulogy. “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’ commentary on single mothers was also misguided considering that Aretha Franklin was a single mother as a teenager and married several times.

“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.”

Franklin’s family has since spoken out against Williams and his eulogy.

“We found the comments to be offensive and distasteful,” Vaughn Franklin, Aretha’s nephew,  said in a statement. “He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her.”

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

Williams was asked to eulogize the beloved Queen of Soul because he eulogized Aretha’s father, C.L. Franklin. However, Aretha did not personally ask for Williams to do the eulogy.

On Sept. 3, Williams responded to the controversy by defending his eulogy at a press conference at Salem Bible Church in Atlanta.

“I just wish somebody would understand my heart and understand what I’m trying to do. Instead of making a mockery or creating difficulty, that hurt me more than anything else,” Williams said. “Because of the great contributor that she was to [the] Civil Rights Movement, I would think that if I’m doing something to turn Black lives around that she would be pleased,”