Aretha Franklin's family say eulogy at her funeral was 'distasteful'

Aretha Franklin’s funeral was held last Friday (Amy Sancetta/AP) Credit: AP/Press Association Images

The Atlanta pastor’s eulogy delivered at Aretha Franklin’s funeral last week was distasteful, the late star’s family said.

The eulogist, the Rev Jasper Williams Jr, was criticised for a political address that described children being in a home without a father as “abortion after birth” and said black lives do not matter unless black people stop killing each other.

“He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogise her,” said Vaughn Franklin, the late singer’s nephew, who said he was delivering a statement for the family.

Vaughn Franklin said that his aunt never asked Mr Williams to eulogise her, since she did not talk about plans for her own funeral

The family selected Mr Williams because he has spoken at other family memorials in the past, most prominently at the funeral for Franklin’s father, minister and civil rights activist CL Franklin, 34 years ago

Mr Williams has not backed down from anything he said at the funeral, and said he respects the family’s opinion.

“I understand it,” he said. “I regret it. But I’m sorry they feel that way.”

Besides a social media uproar, Mr Williams heard resistance at the funeral itself.

Cristal Franklin hugs Vaughn Franklin during the funeral service for Aretha Franklin. Credit: AP

Singer Stevie Wonder yelled out “black lives matter” after the pastor said, “No, black lives do not matter” during his eulogy.

Mr Williams added: “Black lives must not matter until black people start respecting black lives and stop killing ourselves.”

He also said “there are not fathers in the home no more” and said that a “black woman cannot raise a black boy to be a man”. Some people suggested that was disrespectful of Aretha Franklin, a single mother of four boys.

The Rev Jasper Williams Jr delivers the eulogy during the funeral service at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit. Credit: AP

His eulogy “caught the entire family off guard,” Vaughn Franklin said. The family had not discussed what Mr Williams would say in advance, he said.

“It has been very, very distasteful,” he said.

He said it was unfortunate because everyone else who participated in the ceremony was very respectful.