It’s been over two weeks since The Queen of Soul passed away, and on Friday morning Aretha Franklin was mourned and celebrated in a star-studded funeral service in Detroit.
Of course there were incredible musical performances. Jennifer Hudson sang “Amazing Grace.” Faith Hill’s “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” was a bit screechy and received mixed reviews. Fantasia Barrino performed a barefoot medley.
Ariana Grande’s rendition of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” received a lot of praise.
Unfortunately, presiding Bishop Charles Ellis III of Greater Grace Temple, where the ceremony took place, sort of upstaged all this by making a racist comment about Grande’s name. He also embraced her and (at least) grazed her breast.
"When I saw Ariana Grande on the program," he said. "I thought that was a new something at Taco Bell.”
To make matters worse, Bill Clinton was seated behind Grande as she sang, and the internet was all too quick to spread pics and video of him mouth-breathing and aggressively sizing her up with his eyeballs.
Ellis apologized in an interview with the Associated Press:
“It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast,” said Ellis. "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.”
"I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community,” he said. "When you’re doing a program for nine hours you try to keep it lively, you try to insert some jokes here and there.”
78-year-old Motown legend Smokey Robinson seemed to suggest Grande’s revealing black dress was an issue, calling the outfit “inappropriate.”
On the plus side, Franklin’s funeral was mostly a moving, musical success. The highlight was Stevie Wonder’s phenomenal “The Lord’s Prayer,” and a rendition of his classic love song “As.”
Grande is riding the success of Sweetener, her most critically acclaimed album to date. She is also engaged to Pete Davidson and his big D.
h/t: AP News