Kim Burrell’s Canceled Ellen Performance And What’s Really Embarrassing The Black Church

January 3, 2017  |  

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Yesterday, after an extended stretch without Wifi, I logged on to Instagram to find a tweet from Frank Ocean’s mother. It read: “Me: Son, can we crop Kim Burrells vocals out of your song.” The first thought was simply confusion. What beef did Kim Burrell and Frank Ocean have with one another? When I Googled the two of their names together, it wasn’t long before I stumbled across the controversy at hand.

We reported on it earlier. Kim Burrell, in a sermon, referred to the sexual acts of homosexuals as perverted. She was incredibly graphic, speaking about penises in mouths and faces in breasts. Then she took it a step further saying that if people continued “playing with” that homosexual spirit they would die from it in 2017.

You can watch that portion of the sermon in the video below.

People overuse the word rant these days but this speech here, is the epitome of the word, an impassioned speech delivered entirely without logic… or with consideration of her upcoming commitments. You see, Kim Burrell was scheduled to perform on “Ellen” with Pharrell. And Ellen is, quite openly, one of those perverted women Burrell spoke of. Well, according to Janelle Monae, the singer/actress who stars in Hidden Figures, the soundtrack on which Burrell is featured, explained that Burrell would no longer be appearing on the show.

TMZ caught up with her at the airport where she had this to say.

TMZ: Do you think Ellen should cancel the Kim Burrell performance?

Monae: I don’t think she’s performing. She’s not. She’s not performing.

TMZ: So just Pharrell is performing?

Monae: Absolutely. And I’ll be on there too. So make sure you guys tune in and watch and go see the movie January 6, Hidden Figures, about the three African American women, American heroes, directly responsible for getting our first astronauts into space. And John Glen, rest his spirit. We are so excited about this movie and about celebrating the often times uncelebrated. I’m a huge advocate for “the other” and I don’t stand for any hate speech or anything that targets our fellow brothers and sisters in a negative way.

It was a very poised and politically correct response. A bit different from the one she initially issued on her Instagram page, in sharing Pharrell’s comments on Burrell’s comments.

In the hours since I’ve seen Burrell’s comments, I’ve had quite a bit of discussion about them. As you might assume, I don’t agree that homosexual sex is perverted. I don’t believe that homosexual acts, inside the church or out, will bring death in 2017. But I do agree that the church, the Black church has been embarrassed. Time and time again actually. And the issue of homosexuality has often been involved in that embarrassment. But to me, it has more to do with sexual immorality, hypocrisy and hate than it does with two people of the same gender loving one another. Was Eddie Long an embarrassment to the Black church? Yes, of course. But not because he is likely attracted to other men. Long is an embarrassment because he was using the boys and young men in his congregation as sexual victims, raping and molesting them. Not only was he violating these young men, he was doing so while married. (A marriage in which his wife is likely being coerced and even threatened to remain.) It’s not that Long might be gay, it’s that he’s a predator standing behind a pulpit, likely condemning those who are attracted to the same sex but had the good sense not to pervert it by preying on the vulnerable and under-aged.

Is Andrew Caldwell an embarrassment to the church? Absolutely. He’s an attention seeker who is willing to do anything for some shine, even if that anything included exposing the ways in which the church attempts to “rid people of their homosexual spirit through public prayer and laying of hands.”

But the biggest embarrassment of all is the ways in which Christians treat those in the LGBT community. We can argue all day about the morality of homosexuality. Personally, I don’t think two consenting adults of the same gender loving each other, romantically or otherwise, is sin. It’s embarrassing to think that someone who claims to know God would play Him, prophesying death in 2017 for homosexuals. What is even further embarrassing is the fact that in her apology video, Burrell said that her message was for church folk. As if the church and the world are not reflections of each other. She must have forgotten what she said. That she made no distinction about which gay men and women being perverted. She mentioned specific sex acts and called people who participated in them perverted. What is embarrassing and sinful is using your influence and position from the pulpit to spread a message that is antithetical to everything Jesus stood for, which is love. Burrell explicitly said, “You can not give instruction to love holiness with that much perversion.”

Later, after stuff hit the fan, Burrell said that she’s doing the Lord’s work and saying what He has given her to say. She may believe that God told her to speak against homosexuality. But I find it hard to believe that anyone who claims to know God would believe He gives us instruction on people we cannot love. Such a thought is hateful and not of God. Claiming to be His representative and his messenger to spread your personal message of death and hate is what’s embarrassing the Black church.

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