New Year’s Eve is typically a night meant for celebrating the survival of all the crazy things we’ve gone through in the past year as we begin to embark on another year. Unfortunately, the hateful words of gospel legend, Kim Burrell, rang loudly from the Love & Liberty Fellowship Church in Houston, TX.
“I came to tell you about sin. That sin nature. That perverted
homosexual spirit, and the spirit of delusion and confusion. It has
deceived many men and women, and its cause us pain in the body
of Christ … You as a man, you open your mouth and take a man’s
penis to your face, you are perverted. You are a woman and will
shake your face in another woman’s breasts, you are perverted.”
- From Burrell’s Watch Night Sermon
Of course, once the video of her homophobic rant began to circulate online, Burrell immediately felt the wrath of the Internet. The primary focus of the LGBTQ+ community, one that once held high respect for the artist, appeared to be the “use and dip” fashion of Burrell as she “uses gays for the come up,” then “put us down.” Rightfully so, this claim appears to be quite valid as not only is it rumored that one of her hair stylists is a gay male, but she was previously featured on the latest album of Frank Ocean who opened up about his homosexuality in 2012. (Album: Blond, Track: “Godspeed”)
There was a lot of support shown for the LGBTQ+ community following the incident from many mainstream and gospel artists. Pharrell Williams, Kim Burrell’s “I See Victory” collaborator for the film Hidden Figures, went to social media to express his support saying, “I condemn hate speech of any kind. There is no room in this world for any kind of prejudice. My greatest hope is for inclusion and love for all humanity in 2017 and beyond.” Janelle Monae, an R&B singer and actress in the upcoming Hidden Figures movie whose sexuality has come into question countless times, took to her Instagram to cosign with Pharrell stating, “We cannot sit idly by nor will we speak silently when we are confronted with such violence against members of our community. I am personally beyond exhausted by the ignorance and bigotry living in some people.” Burrell’s fellow gospel artist, Yolanda Adams, took to her own Instagram account to address the situation, “Hateful words are never profitable to the cause of Christ in the world.”
Burrell attempted to clear things up on Facebook Live by blaming her enemies for spreading only a portion of her sermon, but could obviously not deny the things that were caught on video. To make matters worse, she insulted her once supporting fans by pointing out her lack of awards and record sales.
Ironically enough, after claiming all homosexuals would “die in 2017,” karma kicked in as a lot of things began to fall through the cracks for Kim Burrell alongside her once huge supportive national audience. Burrell was scheduled to perform her “I See Victory” song with Pharrell Williams on The Ellen DeGeneres show on January 5th, but was pulled from the show shortly after the video surfaced. She also lost her radio show “Bridging the Gap” that aired on Texas Southern University’s KTSU-FM 90.9 and was asked to not participate in this year’s BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music annual celebration where she was slated as a co-honoree to “allow the focus to remain on the songwriters and their music.”
Ultimately, if your religion enables you to look down on another person with judgment because of who they decide to love, then it shouldn’t be one you seek. It is not the nature of the sin that is causing the uproar nor the Christianity religion which teaches one not to judge, but the hateful nature of the commentary. Your religion should make you a more loving person, not a more hateful one. In the words of Questlove, a multi-instrumentalist who provided his own opinion of the matter, “I want Christians to focus on actually being more Christ-like and compassionate to their fellow man.”
Check out the video of Kim Burrell's Rant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tuec00xbBQ