The late, great Aretha Franklin is getting a sendoff fit for a Queen of Soul all day on Friday, but many people watching from afar are worried that memorial service attendees are not giving Franklin the R-E-S-P-E-C-T she deserves.
Pulpit selfies, Bill Clinton worship, Ariana Grande’s “club dress,” and various examples of celebrity networking are some of the behaviors being called out by critics on social media for being inappropriate at what’s meant to be a day to honor a woman who has died.
Funerals, as one angry tweeter noted, are “not for networking opportunities and selfies,” with another commenting that “some of the behaviors seem wildly inappropriate for the occasion.”
Still, the daylong, star-studded church service is not meant to be a day of sorrowful mourning. “Everybody don’t do funerals like we do in the black church,” gospel artist Marvin Sapp, who will be among the performers, told the Associated Press. “We don’t even call them funerals. We call them ‘home-going services,’ and we know how to send people home.”
Sapp added, “We really celebrate because we really recognize that those we call the ‘dearly departed,’ they wouldn’t want for us to cry and be sad and sorrowful. They would want us to celebrate their lives because they transitioned from this life to a better one.”
But should a celebration of life include selfies and sexy outfits? Plenty seem to think those and other behaviors are going too far.
— L. Joy Williams (@ljoywilliams) August 31, 2018
#ArethaHomegoing #ArethaFranklinFuneral Now I’m happy that Ariana gets to be there at Aretha’s funeral and that she gets to sing there but that dress is inappropriate for a funeral. She’s gonna be in a church for God sakes, not a damn party or an award show.
— Justin x Camila 🌹 (@JB_Cabello) August 31, 2018
That woman (who looks like her sister) said “i can’t do this” about viewing her body and like… this is who funerals are for, not networking opportunities and selfies. #ArethaHomegoing
— Anastasia Maxine Beaverhausen-Shaw (@CNRush) August 31, 2018
I thought they told people to put their phones away. Why am I seeing all of these selfies with celebrities? 🤔 #ArethaHomegoing
— Rozella Haydée White (@rozellahw) August 31, 2018
We are already 30 minutes late! Photo ops, selfies and all the like is happening. I need everyone to take their seats pls and thank you! #ArethaHomegoing
— kiel washington (@kielwashington) August 31, 2018
— Cyril Sneer (@cyrilsneerious) August 31, 2018
— WhatAlexWrites (@WhatAlexWrites) August 31, 2018
— Shameika R Writes 📝💖💚 (@Mofochronicles) August 31, 2018
The idea of taking selfies at funerals, specifically, has been an ongoing conversation that has people divided. In 2013, the Tumblr Selfies at Funerals created a huge uproar as it documented the digital-age shift in etiquette. The final post on the page, entitled, “Obama has taken a funeral selfie, so our work here is done,” showed the then-POTUS taking a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. Last year, a prominent funeral director in Quebec spoke out against the practice. A 2015 survey in the United Kingdom found that one-third of mourners had taken funeral selfies.
Essence, on Twitter, is taking a survey throughout the day, asking: “Are selfies appropriate at a funeral?” So far, 87 percent say no. Weigh in below!
— ESSENCE (@Essence) August 31, 2018
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