On Friday, August 31, Bishop Charles H. Ellis III led Aretha Franklin’s eight-hour funeral service. The funeral was live-streamed all over the country, and social media kept up with every performance, funny moment, and speech, as well as every bit of questionable behavior that was caught on camera.
Memes of how Bishop Ellis embraced Grande onstage as well as videos of him likening Grande’s name to a Taco Bell item quickly went viral, forcing the Bishop to issue an apology. Ellis apologized to Ariana Grande after the service for how he touched her onstage and the joke he made about her name.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In an interview with The Associated Press, the Bishop is quoted saying, “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.”
Many people posted images of the moment on social media with the hashtag #RespectAriana.
The Bishop also apologized to Ariana and the Hispanic community for the Taco Bell reference he made in regards to Grande’s name.
“I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community,” Ellis said. “When you’re doing a program for nine hours you try to keep it lively, you try to insert some jokes here and there.”
Ariana’s team has yet to respond.
What are your thoughts on the Bishop’s leading of Queen Aretha’s funeral?