Aretha Franklin's Family Is Disgusted with Her Eulogy: 'Very, Very Distasteful'

Aretha Franklin's family members have revealed they were disappointed by a eulogy delivered at the late singer's funeral on August 31.

Reverend Jasper Williams Jr. was heavily criticized for trying to politicize his eulogy and claiming that black lives don't matter unless black people stop killing each other. Among the grieving crowd, singer Stevie Wonder was less than impressed and shouted back at the pastor: "Black lives matter!"

But the most damning feedback came from Franklin's nephew, Vaughn Franklin, who told The Associated Press that the whole speech was "very, very distasteful" and that it "caught the family off guard. He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her," Vaughn Franklin said.

Reverend Jasper Williams Jr. delivers the eulogy for Aretha Franklin at the funeral service for the late singer at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, on August 31. Franklin's family has expressed its displeasure with the eulogy. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Williams even took aim at the absence of black fathers, saying a boy needed a father to become a man. Aretha Franklin was a single mother of four boys. He has since apologized to the family. "I understand it," Williams said. "I regret it. But I'm sorry they feel that way."

During his eulogy, Williams said: "Black lives must not matter until black people start respecting black lives and stop killing ourselves."

On Sunday, Williams spoke to The Associated Press over the phone and stood by his address. "I was trying to show that the movement now is moving and should move in a different direction. What we need to do is create respect among ourselves. Aretha is the person with that song "Respect" that is laid out for us and what we need to be as a race within ourselves. We need to show each other that."

Williams was not the only person criticized for his actions at Franklin's funeral. Bishop Charles H Ellis III was accused of groping singer Ariana Grande by placing his hand just beneath her chest. Ariana was about to perform Franklin's song "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman."

Ellis has since apologized, saying he hugged every person who spoke at the funeral—male or female. "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 then again, I apologize," he told The Associated Press.

"I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community. When you're doing a program for nine hours you try to keep it lively, you try to insert some jokes here and there.

"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. The last thing I want to do is to be a distraction to this day. This is all about Aretha Franklin."