Kim Burrell is a gospel powerhouse who’s been enjoying some crossover success with “I See a Victory”, a rousing collaboration with Pharrell that headlines the soundtrack to Hidden Figures. The duo even performed a rendition of the song on Fallon last month. Now, though, Burrell finds herself at the center of controversy for remarks she made disparaging the homosexual community.
Viral footage of Burrell preaching at a Houston church finds the singer condemning “the homosexual spirit” to a fired-up audience. “That perverted homosexual spirit is a spirit of delusion and confusion and has deceived many men and women,” she can be heard saying. “It has caused a strain on the body of Christ.”
In addition to prophesying death for homosexuals in 2017, Burrell uses some crude, flippant examples of what she (and, by her extension, God) finds perverted. “If you, as a man, open your mouth and take a man’s penis in your face, you are perverted!” she declared at one point. “If you are a woman and you shake your face in another woman’s breasts, you are perverted!”
Here’s the video:
As the BBC reports, Burrell defended herself in a Facebook live video, saying she was taken out of context and by the “enemies” who only posted a portion of the video. She said she never specifically called out the LGBT community, and was speaking generally about sin. However, her apology once again seemed to classify the “homosexual spirit” as sinful. “To every person who is dealing with the homosexual spirit, that has it, I love you and God loves you but God hates the sin in you and me,” she said. “Anything that is against the nature of God. I make no excuses or apologies. My love is as pure as it comes.”
Though Burrell may claim to be coming from a stance of love and purity, her Hidden Figures collaborators are distancing themselves from her remarks. Pharrell made his thoughts known by posting a statement decrying all hate speech on Twitter and Instagram.
Hidden Figures star Janelle Monaé re-posted Pharrell’s statement, including some more thoughts in the excerpt. She added that she “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.”
Burrell and Pharrell were set to reprise their Fallon performance on Thursday’s episode of Ellen, but this morning TMZ shared an interview with Monaé in which the star said Burrell will no longer be appearing with her and Pharrell. “I don’t stand for any hate speech or anything that targets our fellow brothers and sisters in a negative way,” she said in the interview.
Here’s hoping none of this serves to eclipse the powerful message of the song or the film itself.