The only thing that’s had me madder than Louis C.K. trying to make an out-of-the-sudden comeback is the way Pastor Charles H. Ellis was groping Ariana Grande publicly—as in on stage in a church—during Aretha Franklin’s funeral. This pig has some damn nerve.
In case you missed it, while we were all celebrating a long Labor Day Weekend, a huge funeral service was held on Friday in celebration of the life of legendary singer Aretha Franklin at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit. Every celebrity, music artist and politician you could think of was there—including Ariana Grande who paid a tribute to Franklin by singing her famous single “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.
Right after her performance, Pastor Charles H. Ellis joined Grande on stage and thought it was okay to wrap his arm around her. He pulled her so close to his body that he was straight up touching her breast, which was probably the whole motive behind awkwardly holding her like that in the first place. Everything about this move upset millions of women watching—myself included. From the act itself, to the fact that he gave zero fucks that he was doing this in front of thousands of attendees.
What was up with that pastors hand? pic.twitter.com/M8Ypgm7fQB
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) August 31, 2018
It was pretty obvious that Grande was uncomfortable. In fact, she looked tense throughout most of it. But the internet was outraged, forcing Ellis to later apologize to Grande. He even tried to act like he didn’t realize what he had done. Really bro? We saw you and it was crystal clear he was trying to get a feel on Grande’s breasts—no question about it.
“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,” he told the Associated Press.
Luke Cage star Mike Colter even had the audacity to make a really insensitive tweet about the move. “Now This is how you shoot your shot! Zero F***!” Grande fans came after him on Twitter and he has since apologized and deleted his tweet.
You would think after the #MeToo movement that men—particularly public figures—would be extra careful with how they behave and treat women. But Ellis’ behavior is especially dangerous because he did it publicly, knowing damn well there was most likely going to be backlash and consequences.
I think most women—if not all— related to what Grande was experiencing. Most of us could think back to a time where we definitely found ourselves in an awkward situation like that, where we either feared making a scene or feared retaliation. That’s because for the longest we didn’t have a voice and we were not being seen. But now we do and the #MeToo movement has played a large role in finally allowing us to be heard and believed. So to see someone like Ellis publicly demonstrate sexual misconduct doesn’t just have me outraged but serves as a reminder that this fight against sexual assault, sexual harassment, and taking down the patriarch is far from over.
It’s also evidence that this could literally happen to any woman—regardless of how famous or successful she may be. Regardless of where she is—whether it be in a private space—or at a public event on stage performing for Aretha Franklin’s funeral!
It’s behavior like this that reminds us that we still haven’t progressed enough. Between the #MeToo movement and having a misogynistic president in the white house, women have been angry—to say the least. But the good news is that this anger has moved us to action. More women than ever are running at this year’s midterm elections because it’s become apparent that we need more women in power—in congress—if we really want to see significant change. The fact that a pastor—yes, a pastor— can get away with touching a singer’s breast at a church during a public funeral, speaks to the fact that drastic change is desperately needed. And if you don’t think he got away with it, think again. Ellis may have been forced to make a public apology but I have yet to hear about him suffering any real consequences since the incident and that says volumes about where we’re still at as society when it comes to the treatment of women.