Pastoral or Perverted?

By: Candice Teal

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, was laid to rest on August 31, 2018. The funeral was held at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit Michigan. It was a grand spectacle as family, friends, and 100 pink Cadillacs, gathered to remember her legacy. There were a vast number of singers and speakers who came to help commemorate the event. Among them were Shirley Caesar, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, Fantasia, Yolanda Adams, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Bill Clinton, Tyler Perry, and many more.

The Bishop who delivered the eulogy was Bishop Charles H. Ellis III. Following Ariana Grande’s performance of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”, the Bishop had a few choice words for her. “When I saw Ariana Grande on the program, I thought that was a new something at Taco Bell. Girl let me give you all your respect,” he said jokingly. However, many people did not take to the joke well. Not only was the joke offensive to the “Arianators”, his hand placement while making the comment was deemed invasive as well. While he was giving Ariana her props, his hand was seen being a little too close to her chest area.

Social media immediately went into a frenzy as people accused the Bishop of “groping” and inappropriately handling the superstar. Comments and tweets included words ranging from “sexual assault” to “rape culture”. On the contrary, many people accused the singer of wanting the sexual attention. Ariana Grande wore a short black dress that some people saw as disrespectful to wear in a church funeral setting. It was clear that Ariana was uncomfortable while the situation was occurring due to her body language, but she continued to keep a professional composure.

Unfortunately, there have been many instances of sexually deviant behavior regarding clergy all around the world. This has caused many people to wonder if this was a careless accident, or something more.

When Bishop Ellis III commented on the situation, he told the Associated Press, “It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast. … I don’t know I guess I put my arm around her.”

Ariana has not yet responded to the apology.

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