During funeral services for singer Aretha Franklin in Detroit, Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. delivered remarks that challenged listeners to reassess the causes of black-on-black crime, single motherhood, and homosexuality. Williams, who is black, claimed that black Americans kill as many black people in a matter of months as did the Ku Klux Klan throughout its murderous history. Referring to "black-on-black" crime, he said, "There's got to be a better way."
Williams is the pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Atlanta.
As to the epidemic of out-of-wedlock births in the black community, Williams said black American mothers "cannot raise a black boy to be a man." As to the issue of politicized sexuality, the pastor said, "The straights need to respect the gays. The gays need to respect the straights."
In a recent Facebook video, Williams asserted that he had been invited by Franklin to speak at her funeral. Williams said he was "privileged" to preach there. "It was on of those things that God just gave me," he said about rendering tribute to the “Queen of Soul.” While Williams said the theme of his 50 minute peroration was "soul," he questioned "the queen's legacy."
Williams said that single black women are incapable of raising sons to become grown men, and used the term “abortion after birth” to describe children raised without a father “provider” or a mother “nurturer.” Speaking to the lives of many single mothers in the black community, “as proud, beautiful and fine as our black women are, one thing a black woman cannot do, a black woman cannot raise a black boy to be a man.”
Williams added: "Where is your soul, black man? As I look in your house, there are no fathers in the home no more."
Turning to black political activism, Williams criticized the leftist Black Lives Matter movement. He asked, “Do black lives matter?”
“Let me answer like this: No,” said Williams “Black lives do not matter, black lives will not matter, black lives ought not matter, black lives should not matter, black lives must not matter until black people start respecting black lives and stop killing ourselves, black lives can never matter.”
Williams urged black people to go back to church.
The funeral was marked by musical tributes from a number of pop luminaries, including Ariana Grande and Stevie Wonder. Following his musical tribute to Aretha Franklin, a fellow Michigander, "We can talk about all the things that are wrong and there are many but the only thing that can deliver us is love. So what needs to happen today not only in this nation but throughout the world is that we need to make love great again." He added, "Because black lives do matter, because all lives do matter and if we love God then we know truly that it is our love that will make all things matter, when we make love great again.”