UPDATE: Ellen DeGeneres took to Twitter to say that gospel singer Kim Burrell would not be appearing on her show this week after video emerged of Burrell making homophobic comments.
Pharrell and Janelle Monáe condemned hate speech and distanced themselves from gospel star and Hidden Figures soundtrack collaborator Kim Burrell, after a video showed the gospel singer and preacher making homophobic comments.
Burrell’s profile has heightened as part of the promotional tour for Hidden Figures, a historical drama that stars Monáe, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer as the three African-American NASA mathematicians and engineers who helped launch John Glenn into space. Burrell appears alongside Pharrell, who wrote and performed songs for the soundtrack and produced the film, on the soundtrack’s lead single, “I See A Victory,” and recently contributed to the song on The Tonight Show. A performance on Ellen was scheduled for this week.
However, in a widely circulated video of Burrell preaching at a church in Houston, the singer says, “The perverted homosexual spirit, and the spirit of delusion and confusion … has deceived many men and women.” At one point, she also claims that homosexuals will die in 2017.
Burrell defended her comments on Facebook Live, blaming her “enemies” for spreading only a portion of her sermon and saying, “We’re not in a war against flesh and blood. I came on because I care about God’s creation, and every person from the LGBT [community] and anything else that’s supporting gay, I never said LGBT last night. I said S-I-N, and whatever falls under sin was preached.”
“Don’t you understand I know that people are going to be mad? I have to do what God tells me to do,” the singer added. “Don’t you dare let what these people are saying think that it’s rocking my world. Because I’m out here for God. To every person that is dealing with the homosexual spirit that has it, I love you ’cause God loves you. But God hates the sin.”
Since the video came out, both Pharrell and Monáe have denounced Burrell’s sermon without mentioning her by name. On December 31st, Pharrell posted a note on Instagram that read, “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 in beyond.”
Monáe reposted the same image, along with a longer note in the caption, writing, “I unequivocally repudiate ANY AND ALL hateful comments against the LGBTQ community.” She added, “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!”
A representative for Burrell did not immediately reply to requests for comment. Reps for Pharrell and Monáe declined to comment.