Ever since Tom Cruise made public his adoration for Scientology years ago in a bizarre fashion (by publicly scolding Brooke Shields for taking medication to battle postpartum depression), Scientology has been getting somewhat of a bad rap in every form of media. People have tried to call it a cult and say that members are being brainwashed. I don’t know about all that, but I do know that when Cruise’s wife Katie Holmes allegedly divorced him to keep their daughter Suri from having to study the religion, every ex-member of the Church of Scientology came out of the wood works on TV to denounce the religion. For a few good weeks there, the religion was just getting a lot of shade. But in the process of doing some research on it, I found that many prominent black celebs are members or have taken classes to get them through hard times. Here are just a few…
Your dad’s favorite singer, the award-winning jazz singer became affiliated with the Church of Scientology in the late ’60s. Back when people really started catching wind of the religion, Jarreau was noted as one of many celebrities who said that Scientology had changed their life for the better and even played a role in his success. However, these days, Jarreau is no longer affiliated with the Church of Scientology. Why he parted ways with it is unclear, but he’s just one of many who chucked the deuces to it all.
Hayes’s affiliation with the Church isn’t really a secret, but we were surprised when we found out. The late singer behind classic songs like “Shaft” and his rendition of “Walk On By” actually started studying Scientology in 2005. Hayes appeared in Scientology films, endorsed books and even put together a Scientology-inspired album called The Joy Of Creating – The Golden Era Musicians And Friends Play L. Ron Hubbard. After years of doing the voice of the character Chef on “South Park,” he fell out with the show and parted ways with creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker after they did a satire episode that poked fun at Scientology, and he felt the episode was an example of intolerance and bigotry. Ironically, when his time on the show ended abruptly, Stone and Parker did an episode of “South Park” where the character, Chef, was in a group that had him brainwashed and was killed off in the end.
Doug E. Fresh
The human beat box, this fella was probably the one I was most surprised by. He is indeed a member though, performing at events for those who also study the religion. And remember the album I told you Isaac Hayes worked on that was Scientology inspired? Well, Fresh contributed two tracks to that joint. He opened up about his affiliation with the Church of Scientology and confirmed the rumors with Essence:
“I found it fascinating. It changed how I thought. I’ve learned how to look at things and not judge them but respect them and use it in a way that people understand that I respect them, show them love and respect their reality. Scientology is not written with disrespect toward God. It doesn’t worship something that is evil. It is scientific, mathematical, and spiritual. The Black community has to check it out and see what’s there. I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but you have to take a look. You may be amazed at what you get.”
While Brandy says that she is NOT a member of Scientology, the famous singer and actress admitted that during a very vulnerable time in her life, she dabbled in Scientology by going to some classes to get her mind right. This time was of course after the car crash she was involved in in 2006 that led to the death of another motorist. Though she did go to a few classes, she realized that the religion wasn’t necessarily for her: ” Someone said, ‘There’re [sic] these classes that you can take that can better you as a person.’ I’m like, ‘OK, I’ll go check it out, but that’s all I did, go check it out. I’m not a Scientologist.”
I’m sure you remember our boy Dwayne Nelson from “What’s Happening!!” and “What’s Happening Now!!” He had the huge fro and the low-key annoying voice. In real life, Nelson is a proud member of the Church of Scientology, and credits it with helping him be more creative and spiritual:
“Prior to my knowledge of Scientology and the many tools and technology it makes available, I was extremely busy, going everywhere at a snail’s pace. I was playing hide-and-seek with myself, a very frustrating game. But that game is over and the frustration that accompanied it is handled. Scientology allows me to have certainty about what I know. Personally and professionally, there’s no more guessing about how to be. I calmly point and click. I know that I have hit the mark. Now I am free for the most important thing about me: creativity. What I want is a matter of choice – my choice. How I get it is a matter of “trust Scientology.”
Yes, that would be Lynn from “Girlfriends.” According to Black Voices, White is a member of the Church of Scientology, and a completion list of classes for the religion have her name on them (see Purification Rundown 84). On her Myspace page (old school!), White even listed L. Ron Hubbard as one of her “heroes.” Hubbard is of course a famed fiction writer and the creator of the Church of Scientology. Definitely didn’t see that coming, but hey, if it works for her, good for her.
In an interview with the Telegraph in the UK, in a profile with Khan it came out that religion played a big part in the singer being able to overcome her addictions over the years. But she’s not too keen on the idea of sharing her beliefs. She mentions Scientology often in interviews, but Khan has said that she isn’t a Scientologist. She is similar to Brandy in that she has taken classes and studied the religion in some form over the years, but just isn’t a Scientologist. In fact, when talking with The New York Times she actually said she belongs to the Church of Chaka Khan, not the Church of Scientology…:
“I’m not, never was, never will be. I belong to the religion of the Church of Chaka Khan, and I practice it every day. I live my religion, I consider it a personal thing. But I’ve taken some courses in Scientology, and they’ve been very, very helpful through life’s ups and downs.”
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