Among the different performances and guests at Aretha Franklin’s funeral on Aug. 31, one that struck a chord with the audience and viewers was that of Ariana Grande. Grande, whose fourth studio album, “Sweetener,” just released on Aug. 17, sang Franklin’s song “A Natural Woman” in tribute.
The service was held at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple, which was full of friends, family and admirers of the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, who is also known as the “Queen of Soul.” As an article on CNN described it, “It was a service fit for the Queen.”
So, let’s talk about some things that people have had issues with. The one thing I’ve seen circling the internet the most was the inappropriate touching of Grande by Bishop Charles H. Ellis III. A couple others were the eulogy given by Atlanta pastor Reverend Jasper Williams Jr. which lasted 50 minutes and was called disrespectful by the family of Franklin, and the dress Grande chose to wear.
After Grande’s performance, she was brought up again by Bishop Ellis.What was hopefully meant to be a simple side arm hug, turned into another controversy because his hand was inappropriately touching the side of Grande’s breast.
Bishop Ellis joked about how he didn’t recognize the name and thought Grande was “a new something at Taco Bell,” all while he was touching Grande. He then went on to say, “Let me give you all your respect.”
It’s pretty obvious that touching a woman without consent is just plain wrong, and the fact that it’s still happening this day in age is sad. Bishop doing it on live TV at a woman’s funeral is something that just adds to how disgusting it is.
His apology statement reads, “It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast. I don’t know, I guess I put my arm around her. Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar. But again, I apologize.” Bishop Ellis also apologized for the Taco Bell joke, which angered fans as well.
I think it’s great he apologized. But, obviously someone will apologize for something if they see themselves getting backlash over it, even if they don’t think they did anything wrong. Let’s hope Bishop Ellis meant it, and that this sort of behavior stops.
Some viewers had issues with Grande’s choice of a black dress she wore to the funeral. Tweets by people who had a problem with the length of the dress read, “I’m sorry but Ariana Grande dress is too short for a funeral,” and, “Ariana Grande’s ponytail is longer than her dress.”
I don’t think Grande’s dress was as bad as these people were making it out to be. Sure, it was a little shorter than I would’ve gone with if I were attending a funeral, but it’s not like she was flashing anyone.
Also, the people who took to Twitter to voice their opinions were taking away from what the main focus should have been that Grande was performing a rendition of Franklin’s song to pay respect and celebrate the life of the deceased singer.
Email Annika Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org