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Aretha Franklin's eulogy 'offensive, distasteful': family

MEMBERS of Aretha Franklin's family felt the eulogy for the Queen of Soul delivered by a pastor at her funeral last week was "offensive and distasteful", they said on Monday.

Rev Jasper Williams Jr, the pastor at Salem Baptist Church in Atlanta, spent his time at the podium raising social issues he said were critical to the black community. He used the "platform to push his negative agenda" which Franklin's family "does not agree with", family members said in a statement e-mailed to Reuters.

"We found the comments to be offensive and distasteful," the family said. "Rev Jasper Williams spent more than 50 minutes speaking and at no time did he properly eulogise her." Family, friends and fans of Franklin offered a rousing farewell on Friday at an eight-hour service featuring tributes from former US president Bill Clinton and civil rights leaders, as well as emotional performances by entertainers Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson and Gladys Knight.

Rev 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".

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He defended his comments at a news conference on Sunday. "Respect for each other is the key to us changing the road we are on as a race," he said.

Franklin died on Aug 16 from pancreatic cancer. REUTERS