The Texan singer and preacher Kim Burrell is a star in the world of gospel music, and she is an absolutely powerful performer. Last month, alongside Pharrell, she sang “I See A Victory,” a song from the soundtrack of the new movie Hidden Figures, on The Tonight Show, and it was stirring. But Kim Burrell is also, it turns out, a terrifying bigot.
As The Hollywood Reporter points out, footage of Burrell decrying “the homosexual spirit” during a sermon at a Houston church recently went viral. During the grainy and frankly horrifying video, Burrell says, “That perverted homosexual spirit is a spirit of delusion and confusion and has deceived many men and women. It has caused a strain on the body of Christ.” She also claims that homosexuals will die in 2017, like that’s a good thing. Here’s the video:
Since that footage came out, Burrell has gone on Facebook Live, blasting “enemies” who circulated the footage out of context. She also says that she has never discriminated against gay people: “I love you, and God loves you. But God hates the sin.”
Meanwhile, Pharrell and Hidden Figures cast member Janelle Monáe have both distanced themselves from Burrell without explicitly calling out her name. On Instagram, Pharrell has posted a vague statement decrying all hate speech:
Monáe, meanwhile, went into a bit more detail in her Instagram post: “My advice: If your religion is causing you to spew out words of hate, judge, or look down on others because of who one loves then you need to change it. And fast. If the religion don’t make you are more loving or better person, ditch it.” Here’s her complete statement:
I shouldn't even have to post this as you guys should already know where I stand but If you do not pls know I unequivocally repudiate ANY AND ALL hateful comments against the LGBTQ community. Actually I'm tired of that label. We all belong to the same community, a shared community called humanity. And today and tomorrow and the next day I will continue to stand with other like minded people who condemn any and all statements and actions that would seek to deny the basic humanity of our fellow brothers and sisters. 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. At times I want to punch and I want to slap a lot of people when I read and hear the shit that comes out their mouthes !!! I will rejoice when folks stop thinking they ARE GOD, Jesus' assistant, picking and choosing what "sins" are acceptable in the Bible, and using the Bible as a whip! WE can't afford anymore tearing down of our shared humanity. My advice: If your religion is causing you to spew out words of hate, judge, or look down on others because of who one loves then you need to change it. And fast. If the religion don't make you are more loving or better person, ditch it. But what do I know. My hope is that we ALL go into this new year considering for one moment that we don't have all the answers. My hope is that we become more understanding, less judgmental, more tolerate, and more patient with one another. Including me. HAPPY NEW YEAR. 🙏🏿?
Burrell was booked to sing “I See A Victory” alongside Pharrell on Thursday’s episode of Ellen. But it will probably not shock you to learn that America’s most beloved gay talk show host does not want Burrell on her show. TMZ recently caught up with Monáe, who said that Burrell would no longer be appearing on Ellen and offered this: “I don’t stand for any hate speech or anything that targets our fellow brothers and sisters in a negative way.” She did not, however, answer a question about whether she’d appear with Burrell at any point in the future, or whether Burrell’s song should be taken off of the Hidden Figures soundtrack.
UPDATE: Ellen DeGeneres confirms that Burrell will not appear on her show.
For those asking, Kim Burrell will not be appearing on my show.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 3, 2017
UPDATE 2: Frank Ocean’s mother, Katonya Breaux, has asked her son, Frank Ocean, to edit Burrell’s voice off of his Blonde track “Godspeed” in the wake of her homophobic comments.
Me: Son, can we crop Kim Burrells voice out of your song??
— katonya breaux (@katonya) January 1, 2017
I mean damn. Hypocrisy and the inciting of hate pisses me off. Opportunistic &?%#€!!
— katonya breaux (@katonya) January 1, 2017