Al Sharpton Turns Aretha Franklin's Funeral Political, Steals Limelight Like Only He Can
As the world mourned the passing of a great American musical icon, Aretha Franklin, Al Sharpton used the opportunity to turn her funeral into a political spectacle. And, of course, the target of his comments was President Donald Trump.
In his comments, he mentioned he misspelled the word respect as a precursor to his Trump slam.
“You know the other Sunday on my show I misspelled respect and a lot of y’all corrected me. Now I want y’all to help me correct President Trump to teach him what it means,” Sharpton said.
Rev. Al Sharpton at Aretha Franklin's funeral: "When word went out that Ms. Franklin passed, Trump said she used to work for me. No, she used to perform for you. She worked for us." https://t.co/qSW5iZgtqR pic.twitter.com/QrvJrR4kw3
— ABC News (@ABC) August 31, 2018
He continued, “When word went out that Ms. Franklin passed, Trump said she used to work for me. No, she used to perform for you. She worked for us. Aretha never took orders from nobody but God.”
And while Sharpton enjoyed a sustained round of applause for his comments at Franklin’s funeral, maybe it might be appropriate to revisit his respect gaff for context.
I can’t help but think that had to be embarrassing for Sharpton since respect is a sixth-grade level spelling word. But hey, we all make mistakes and he certainly took this one in stride.
The New York Post reported the impetus for Sharpton’s comments at Franklin’s funeral.
Trump’s apparent gaffe came on Aug. 16, the day Franklin died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 76.
“I want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of a person I knew well. She worked for me on numerous occasions. She was terrific — Aretha Franklin — on her passing,” Trump said during a cabinet meeting.
“She’s brought joy to millions of lives and her extraordinary legacy will thrive and inspire many generations to come. She was given a great gift from God — her voice, and she used it well. People loved Aretha. She was a special woman. So just want to pass on my warmest best wishes and sympathies to her family.”
Perhaps to most, those words from the president may seem complimentary and respectful. Sharpton seems to twist them into comments with racists undertones.
And she apparently did have a previous working relationship with the president as she performed at an opening of Trump International Tower and Hotel in 1977.
Donald Trump and Aretha Franklin during the grand opening of Trump International Hotel & Tower in NYC, 1997 pic.twitter.com/5AVWAVzqd1
— Allan Smith (@akarl_smith) August 16, 2018
While it may be possible Aretha Franklin had a political leaning in one direction or another, I don’t remember her ever making a point to display it in public. I wonder just how she would have felt about having her funeral used as a political platform.
Funerals are a time celebration of the life and of closure for those of us who are left behind. It’s sad to see the great contributions of this talented woman overshadowed by opportunistic political rhetoric.
Let’s remember her like she is in this video performance of one of my favorite Aretha songs, “Respect.” She’s young, vibrant, and full of energy and talent.
Al Sharpton could do well to show some respect to his late friend by leaving the political race baiting at home next time he eulogizes a friend.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.