"He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her," Aretha's nephew, Vaughn Franklin, told the Associated Press Tuesday. Williams' noticeably off-topic comments "caught the entire family off guard," Franklin added. "It has been very, very distasteful," he told AP.
During the failed eulogy, Williams, among other things, eschewed praise of Franklin's unparalleled artistic achievements in favor of criticism of Black Lives Matter activism and single-parent households. During the funeral, Williams' Black Lives Matter criticism was immediately met with a shouted "Black lives matter!" from attendee Stevie Wonder.
Williams, however, hasn't exactly apologized for the remarks themselves. "I understand it," he told AP. "I regret it. But I'm sorry they feel that way." According to Vaughn, the pastor had been selected based on his previous speaking engagements at memorials for Aretha's father C.L. Franklin and others.
The Queen of Soul died Aug. 16 at the age of 76. Per a statement from the singer's oncologist, the official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type. "We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters, and fans all around the world," a family rep said. "Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on."
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