Ariana Grande had people talking before she even started singing at the funeral for Aretha Franklin. But what happened after her performance generated even more conversation.
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The fashion decision to go with such a short dress at a homegoing service for the Queen of Soul was the cause of criticism. Many felt showing so much leg was extremely inappropriate, and thank goodness Bill Clinton and Rev. Jesse Jackson weren’t caught looking like dirty old men, as they were prominently on camera during Ariana’s performance seated behind her on stage.
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The vocals delivered by Ariana Grande as she sang Aretha’s classic “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” were fine, and after Ariana finished performing, she went up to the podium with Bishop Charles H. Ellis, III. He presided over the homegoing service for Aretha Franklin, and was immediately criticized on social media for touching the side of Ariana’s breast.
As if the touch of Ariana Grande’s breast wasn’t enough, Bishop Ellis also made a joke about her name. Here’s what he said:
“I’ve got to apologize because I have to brush up. When I saw Ariana Grande on the program, I thought that was a new something at Taco Bell.”
While Ariana handled the inappropriate touching and comments by Bishop III with grace, her fans were not here for it. The #RespectAriana was launched on social media and even started to trend because of the tremendous volume of posts about both incidents.
The backlash was felt by Bishop Charles H. Ellis, III. He spoke with the AP and issued an apology on Friday, August 31st, the same day of the service:
“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.
I hug all the female artists and the male artists,” Ellis said. “Everybody that was up, I shook their hands and hugged them. That’s what we are all about in the church. We are all about love. The last thing I want to do is to be a distraction to this day. This is all about Aretha Franklin.
I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community. When you’re doing a program for nine hours you try to keep it lively, you try to insert some jokes here and there.”
Here’s another reaction from the saints to Ariana Grande at the funeral for Aretha Franklin…