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Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. gives eulogy at Aretha Franklin’s funeral at Greater Grace Temple on August 31, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo credit ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

There are several things the Black community does not like to discuss …

I watched Reverend Jasper Williams Eulogy at Aretha Franklin’s funeral (see video below). Williams’ states Aretha asked him to do her Eulogy as he did her father, The Rev CL Franklin, 30 years prior. The Franklin family is said to be insulted by Williams’ subject matter during the Eulogy and deemed his speech inappropriate considering the late Aretha Franklin was a single mother of four sons.

The community, black sons of single black mothers nor anyone else can answer for how Black single mothers, who have already raised their sons, feel about the situation. We have to ask them if they would have preferred to have a husband or a man in the house?

Williams states that black women are not qualified to raise a black boy into a man. Many have done so but his point was that they need help, and black fathers are supposed to help, he explained during a press conference post the Eulogy.

People were also offended at his take on Black Lives Matter which he ventured is hypocritical when, as he stated, it’s OK for us to kill a hundred of us but not OK when a white policeman kills one of us.

Why Don’t We Like to Have this Conversation?

One can’t help but wonder how many black people are silently standing in the wings applauding the Reverend for speaking out on a subject that we as a community prefer to avoid at all costs. Why … is the greater mystery. Perhaps it makes us take a long, hard look at our own shortcomings or perhaps it would be easier to blame the system for our actions and there is accountability on all ends but it’s a major problem nonetheless and we are not free from contributing to the situation.

How can we be insulted by the truth one might add. In addition, while Aretha was a single mother of four sons, what is the likelihood that had she been given an opportunity to be married and have a father for those sons, like the many other black women who fall in the 70% bracket of being single mothers, would she or any black mother have preferred to have a husband? There is no debate, no sides, and no stances because the question belongs to them, not us. We can’t answer FOR them.

Is being a single black mother a choice, community circumstances or a badge of honor? Aretha stated through MANY, MANY, MANY of her interviews that she loved being married and she respected the institution and that she would get married again. Williams’ refuses to apologize. Should he or should we?

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Kevin, Rev. Jasper Williams comments had some validity, yet, the setting was inappropriate. One might ask “When is the setting not right to tell the truth?” The answer: the occasion & purpose. Rev. Williams was there to eulogize Aretha. The eulogy (praise, citation salute to the decease) of Aretha started out right by working with her title “Queen of Soul” and breaking down the “Soul” in relationship to man’s being( mind body & soul). However, he got too political (GOP talking points “Black Lives Don’t Matter” re:black on black crime). Also saying a woman can’t raise a man (addressing households of women raising sons without fathers) was an insult to the deceased who did just that with her son in the audience. Now, if he used it to demonstrate her strength & determination against all odds it would have been different but he never got to that point. So this isn’t about not wanting to hear the truth, it’s more about using the world stage to salute an icon’s life and turning it into a platform for a different agenda. Now if he had referenced more of Aretha’s benevolence on behalf of those single mothers because she understood their plight/challenges again, that would have been a more appropriate route. Now if I missed something during the 8 hours I sat there, I’m open for conversation as I haven’t taken the time to look at my recording of the services.

    • I guess it’s all about how we interpret the message. A funeral lasting that many hours was loaded with tributes to Aretha. If she asked him to do the service as he said she did, then he had the floor. I am one of those people that think at what point DO we discuss this issue instead of repeatedly tripping over the, now, HUGE, lump under the carpet of combined things that we don’t like to discuss in the black community? Diabetes, mental health, LGBTQ, black on black crime, the election process, finances, education, single mothers etc. Preachers have certainly used the pulpit to eulogize in the past and bring awareness to important issues outside of the deceased. We have a HUGE stage to hear about racist white police officers every time an infraction takes place, the media and our cell phones are ever present, we can march, rally and protest but what happens after that to change the outcome? And it is a good question, where ARE we when a black boy is killed in the hood and it’s black and black. I saw a black man once accuse the media of being biased for not giving equal coverage to black on black murders and I thought that was a ridiculous statement then I realized it wasn’t. We hear about it but we don’t see the magnitude of how it affects the family or the community. Look at what happened when the young 15-year-old Puerto Rican boy was slashed to death in NYC recently, someone filmed it with their phone and the world responded and the perpetrators were apprehended. There are many cold cases in the community because of no snitch rules. I have seen countless black folks tsk and shake their heads as they go on about their day waiting for somebody else to fix the problem. Jasper’s point is WE have to fix it. As stated in the story Aretha wanted to be married, she didn’t find a husband. She did the best that she could but what we have and what we prefer to have are far-fetched on the surface. We can’t assume she or any black woman is content when it comes to raising sons on their own, they have no choice in that matter if they don’t have a husband or a man in the house to help but the question as stated in the story belongs to them. Would you have preferred to have help from a husband in raising your kids? I’m willing to bet not many of them would say yes.

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