Aretha Franklin was laid to rest yesterday, after a star-studded send-off for a lady who has been larger than life for years.
She was especially revered in Detroit – Out for dinner at the 1940 Chop House one Saturday night I saw her cruise through the dining room with her entourage in tow, a path cleared, heads turned, every eye on her!
The send-off was unrestrained. Aretha was larger than life in death too – gold plated bronze casket, dozens of pastel roses, 100 pink Cadillacs, the deceased dressed to the nines, including stiletto heels to match her dress – four costume changes, starting with a red dress and shoes. Her body arrived at the church early Friday in a 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse. She wore a shimmering gold dress, with sequined heels.
I won’t talk about all of the dignitaries who sang, and talked, and mourned, but I would like to talk about the Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. of Salem Baptist Church in Atlanta, and some of the words he spoke during his eulogy. As ABC News reported,
[He] was excoriated on Twitter and elsewhere for misogyny, bigotry and the perpetuation of false science on race. He also blamed integration and the civil rights movement for ripping the heart out of black micro-economies that once relied on black-owned small businesses such as grocery stores, hotels and banks.
As he wended his way through the need for more African Americans to return to church and more men to return to their families, the heat turned up online, with younger people declaring rhetoric such as that of Williams is why they left their churches to begin with.
Reverend Williams is a brave man. It is unpopular today to speak the truth out loud. People don’t want to hear the truth.
Here is an excerpt:
It’s time to turn black America around…
Nobody can do anything with our own children.
The school teachers can’t handle our children.
The pastor at the church can’t handle our children.
The police in the streets can’t handle our children.
It’s time to turn America around.
Whatever way the home goes, is the way the world goes.
As the home goes, so goes the street.
As the street goes, so goes the neighborhood.
As the neighborhood goes, so goes the city.
As the city goes, so goes the state.
As the state goes, so goes the nation.
As the nation goes, so goes the world.
I saw this comment on the video, and it is oh so true:
An appropriate message not just for Black America, the diaspora of all our people around the world need to take heed of what was said during the funeral – a few will be changed, but most won’t and do not care to swallow the “medicinal word” offered up for healing or restoration.
The uncomfortable truth has no perfect fitting time for man nor woman. Saints of God, are not called to be wo/men pleasers. There needs to be more examples of men and women in pastoral roles to lead by better example – respect to the Bishop for not satisfying or tickling the ears of those who wanted their flesh boosted; their egos massaged.
WE, all have to do what we can while almighty God gives us the strength (as Believers) to make a change that helps others, which produces progress for change within our communities. Remember: FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD, WORKS WITHOUT L.O.V.E. is pointless too.
I read that Aretha asked that this man of God speak at her funeral. Perhaps she was wiser than any of us knew, and really ready for her next big adventure.