The bishop who officiated at Aretha Franklin’s funeral asked Ariana Grande to apologize for the way he played her on stage and for a joke she made about the singer’s name.
Bishop Charles H. Ellis III conducted Franklin’s funeral and congratulated Grande on stage after she sang “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” on Friday.
The images of the moment show that with the right hand, Ellis approaches Grande towards him, with his fingers pressing one side of his chest. Grande seems to react with some discomfort.
In an interview on Friday night, the preacher apologized to the singer.
“It would never be my intention to touch a woman’s chest … I do not know, I guess I put my arm around her,” Ellis added in the interview, at the cemetery where Franklin was buried.
“Maybe it crossed the limit, maybe it was too friendly or familiar, but again, I apologize , “ he added.
He said he hugged all the artists during the eight-hour funeral service on Friday.
“I embrace all female artists and male artists,” said Ellis. “To all those who were there, I shook their hands and embraced them, that’s what we are in the Church, it’s all about love.”
He added: “The last thing I want to do is be a distraction this day, all this has been for Aretha Franklin.”
Many people retweeted the images in the foreground of the moment on Twitter, with the hashtag #RespectAriana (#RespetaaAriana).
Ellis also apologized to Grande, her fans and the Hispanic community for making a joke of when she saw the name of the artist on the ceremony program. He said he thought it was a new dish on the Taco Bell menu.
“I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and her fans and the entire Hispanic community,” Ellis said. “When you conduct a nine-hour ceremony you try to keep it active, you try to insert some jokes here and there.”
The touch of Ellis eclipsed some of the criticisms that the singer had received at the beginning of the ceremony, for having worn a short black dress for his presentation. Numerous people posted criticism online, saying that the dress was too short for the Church.
The representatives of Grande did not answer at the moment an email message seeking comments. (I)