Gospel singer Kim Burrell labeled homosexuality “perverted” in a sermon she gave in her other life as a Pentecostal preacher, quickly eliciting responses from both Pharrell Williams, with whom she sings on the “Hidden Figures” soundtrack, and two stars from that film, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe.
Burrell and Williams were originally scheduled to perform the soundtrack song “I See a Victory,” on which he is also a producer, on “The Ellen Show” on Thursday, with Monáe also slated to appear as a guest.
But on Tuesday morning, show host Ellen DeGeneres announced on Twitter that Burrell would not join Monáe and Williams on Thursday’s show.
“I came to tell you about sin,” Burrell said in the recent sermon at the Houston church she founded and where she is pastor, Love and Liberty Fellowship Church International. “That perverted homosexual spirit, and the spirit of delusion and confusion, it has deceived many men and women.”
A firestorm of criticism was touched off when video of the sermon began to circulate and Burrell took to Facebook Live to add, “There are a lot of people that I’m aware of that struggle or deal [with] or have that spirit. Have I discriminated against them? Have I ever outright told them that I don’t love you and you going to hell? … I don’t give that call.”
Williams posted a message on Instagram that did not mention Burrell by name, but said: “I condemn hate speech of any kind. There is no room in this world for any kind of prejudice. My greatest hope is for inclusion and love for all humanity in 2017 and beyond.”
Monae, in a comment attached to Williams’ statement, said similarly: “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.”
Her statement, which had generated more than 11,000 likes as of Monday afternoon, continued, “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….My hope is that we become more understanding, less judgmental, more [tolerant] and more patient with one another. Including me.”
Spencer also posted Williams’ message and added, “I agree. We are all God’s children equal in his eyes. Hatred isn't the answer. Intolerance isn't the answer.”
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1:45 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details on Burrell’s appearance on “The Ellen Show” by Times reporter Makeda Easter.
This article was originally published at 4:25 a.m.