Aretha Franklin’s funeral was on Friday and, unfortunately, there was controversy. In a 30-minute eulogy by Reverend Jasper Williams, the senior pastor of Atlanta’s Salem Bible Church made some offensive comments about Black Lives Matter and single mothers, which got him slammed on social media. Williams is now speaking out and he refuses to apologize.
Williams told the Associated Press, “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 ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T’ that is laid out for us and what we need to be as a race within ourselves. We need to show each other that. We need to show each other respect. That was the reason why I did it.”
Referring to his comments about single mothers, when Williams talked about “abortion after birth” and children being raised without a “provider” father (Aretha Franklin was a single mother of 40), he tried to explain. “Here’s the root of what I’ve been talking about: In order to change America, we must change black America’s culture. We must do it through parenting. In order for the parenting to go forth, it has to be done in the home. The home.”
Williams also said, “No, Black lives do not matter” then backed up his Fox News-type point by babbling about Black on Black crime, which made Stevie Wonder say “Black Lives Matter” when he took the stage.
Williams claimed Stevie didn’t understand, “I think Stevie Wonder did not understand what I said. I said Blacks do not matter, because Black lives cannot matter, will not matter, should not matter, must not matter until Black people begin to respect their own lives. Then and only then will Black lives matter. That’s what I said, and again, and again, and again. We need to have respect for each other. Once we start doing that, then we can begin to change.”
Williams claimed he has not heard from the Franklin family about his speech, but doubled down, “I’m sure much of the negativity is due to the fact that they don’t understand what I’m talking about. Anybody who thinks Black America is all right as we are now is crazy. We’re not all right. It’s a lot of change that needs to occur. This change must come from within us. Nobody can give us things to eliminate where we are. We have to change from within ourselves. It is ludicrous for the church not to be involved. The church is the only viable institution we have in the African-American community. We must step up and turn our race around.”
It sounds like Rev. Jasper Williams is the one who doesn’t understand what he is talking about. Click here to read a powerful op-ed on why his eulogy was disgraceful, factually incorrect and sounded more like a Trump speech rather than a speech honoring the Queen of Soul.