Black America demands respect at Aretha Franklin’s funeral

- Advertisement -

Speakers at Aretha Franklin’s funeral took the opportunity to demand respect for black America.

Amid the gospel, personal reflections and grief were calls to register and turn out to vote in November’s midterm elections.

Many African-Americans were upset when US President Donald Trump referred to Franklin as “someone who worked for me” upon her death.

Franklin’s civil rights legacy was mentioned often during the eight-hour service, and was tied to her faith and roots in the black church.

Many also mentioned her father, the Reverend CL Franklin, and his civil rights leadership, which influenced his daughter from a young age.

Late on Friday, Franklin was laid to rest in a mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery, the final resting place of her father.

None of the politicians present — including former president Bill Clinton and former attorney general Eric Holder — took the opportunity to turn the event partisan.

Michigan Democratic House representative Brenda Lawrence took a moment to recognise Arizona Republican senator John McCain.

But others seized on Mr Trump’s comments and Franklin’s message of dignity to speak to the present social and political climate. In pointing out the long lines to pay tribute to Franklin this week, the Reverend Jesse Jackson lamented that the lines to vote often are not nearly as long.

“Aretha was on the battleground for 60 years,” Rev Jackson told the audience. “We have long lines to celebrate death, and short lines for voting. Something is missing. If you leave here today and don’t register to vote, you’re dishonouring Aretha.”

Judge Greg Mathis, one of Franklin’s many friends who often talked politics with her, said that his last conversation with Franklin earlier this summer was about the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where government negligence has left residents living with lead-tainted water since 2014.

Greg Mathis
Retired Judge Greg Mathis spoke at the service (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Some made a statement without saying a word. When she was shouted out from the stage, California Democrat representative Maxine Waters — who has called frequently for Mr Trump’s impeachment and is a campaign rally punching bag for the president — acknowledged the crowd with the “Wakanda salute”, from the movie Black Panther, closing her fists and crossing her arms over her chest to applause.

Many in the audience, including Mr Clinton, stood and cheered.

“Everybody just point over there and tell her, ‘We got your back!’” said Bishop Charles H Ellis III, pastor of Greater Grace Temple, which the audience shouted in Waters’ direction.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.