Gospel singer and pastor Kim Burrell got caught out there when a video surfaced on Facebook on December 30th, showing her making horrible comments about people who identify as queer. Said Burrell, “Everybody in this room who’s filled with the homosexual spirit, beg god to free you. You play with it. What does that mean? You’ll die from it. You play with it in god’s house in 2017, you’ll die from it.”
The timing couldn’t be worse because the video appeared before she was scheduled to sing a duet on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” with Pharrell Williams, with whom Burrell had recorded a song for the soundtrack of Hidden Figures, a film produced by Williams about Katherine Johnson’s role in the early days of the U.S. space program.
Burrell didn’t apologize for the comments or back off of them, rather she defended herself by saying she didn’t discriminate against gay people. “Have I ever discriminated against them? Have I ever outright told them, ‘I don’t love you and you going to hell?’ Why would I? Who gives me the right to say that I’m telling someone that they’re going to hell? I don’t get that call?” said Burrell.
Degeneres who very famously identifies as gay and recently was awarded a Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama for her efforts in the LGBT community, responded swiftly to the controversy, and in a Tweet two days ago wrote, “For those asking, Kim Burrell will not be appearing on my show.”
Williams will appear on the show today and in a preview clip, the multi-talented Williams commented on his wife’s pregnancy, the film and of course the controversy.
Said Williams, “There’s no space, there’s not room for any kind of prejudice in 2017, and moving on. [Burrell is] a fantastic singer and I love her, just like I love everybody else. And we all gotta get used to that. We gotta get used to everyone’s differences and understand that this is a big, gigantic, beautiful, colorful world, and it only works with inclusion and empathy. It only works that way. Live and let live, love and let love.”
Referencing the recent U.S. election, he added “Sometimes devisiveness works, but you have to choose what side you’re on, and I’m choosing empathy. I’m choosing inclusion. I’m choosing love for everybody, and just trying to lift everyone. Even when I disagree with someone, I’m wishing them the best, I’m hoping for the best because we can’t win the other way.
Williams went on to perform the single “Runnin,” a song included on the soundtrack for the film.