Aretha Franklin's eulogy was ‘offensive and distasteful,’ family says
DETROIT - Reuters
Family, friends and fans of Franklin offered a rousing farewell on Aug. 31 at an eight-hour service featuring tributes from former U.S. President Bill Clinton and civil rights leaders, as well as emotional performances by entertainers Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson and Gladys Knight.
Williams, picked because of past eulogies for family members, said in his remarks that single black mothers alone could not raise black boys to become men and that black lives would not matter "until black people start respecting black lives and stop killing ourselves."
He defended his comments at a news conference on Sept. 2.
"Respect for each other is the key to us changing the road we are on as a race," he said.
Franklin died at her Detroit home on Aug. 16 from pancreatic cancer. Having sung at the inaugurations of three presidents, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, she was an American institution, receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from then President George W. Bush in 2005.
Detroit treated Franklin's death like that of royalty, with people filing past her body in the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History for two days to pay their respects.