GET U SOME!
with Yarde’ Noir
THE BLACK CHURCH …The Reality Show
Traditionally the Church has been the cornerstone of the African-American community. To make it to heaven is the ultimate goal and to get there you have to be free of sin and follow the commandments. In a marginalized community that believes you have to be 3-times better than your white counterpart, perfectionism becomes the ultimate goal by any means necessary. Scaring participants into salvation with sermons of fire and brimstone made it acceptable to demonize and belittle those who come short of perceived perfection. These actions create moral judgement in the church and in the community, ultimately cultivating an environment of secrets, lies and deceit. All the elements that make for a dramatic story.
Last June The OWN Network introduced Greenleaf, a series based around an African-American first family of a southern mega church. The Greenleaf’s seem to be picture perfect but beneath the frame the picture is flawed. With over 3 million viewers, Greenleaf became the #1 debut series in the history of the network. Why? Because art imitates life. In the words of openly gay minister and artist, B.Slade “I think it’s time we had a real conversation!” The Black church has become a reality show and is responsible for emotionally and spiritually messing some people up.
In Greenleaf, Tye Satterlee is the husband of Bishop Greenleaf’s youngest daughter, Charity. Tye has recently discovered his attraction to men and his wife’s pregnancy. Though this should be a time of great joy, throughout the season we watch him agonize as he tries to suppress his feelings. His ultimate desire is to be pleasing to God and a good husband to his wife. Variations of this story have played out countless times in Black communities across the country. Black men who grew up in the church, groomed to be in ministry and recognized as being anointed with a calling but struggle with an internal battle of sexuality verses religion. Taught their entire life, intimacy and attraction to the same sex is an abomination and not worthy of God’s love, many of these men live in private agony even if they have never engaged in any act. With a desire to be pleasing to God they pray for God to take it away, others tuck the desires in the back corner of their mind hoping to forget about it and some won’t even acknowledge it. Oftentimes moving forward to capture the “American Dream,” many pursue living the picture perfect life hoping to find happiness in a wife and children. Ultimately trying to please God, family and church while simultaneously creating their own prison.
In a viral video, from the pulpit, international gospel artist and pastor Kim Burrell unapologetically called out Andrew Caldwell, and megachurch Pastor Bishop Eddie Long for their “perverted homosexual spirit” being used to embarrass the church. Caldwell became an internet sensation after a video of him declaring “I’m not gay no more. I’m delivered!” Long, Senior Pastor of a mega church in Georgia who lived under a cloud of allegations stemming from lawsuits filed by multiple men who say he engaged them in sexual acts. Last September he revealed that he was battling an unidentified “health challenge” which caused significant weight loss. Many have publicly speculated that he was suffering from AIDS related issues, while his church has repeatedly refused to comment on his illness.
Burrell spoke about Long, “I’ve never seen anything as heartbreaking as watching Bishop Eddie Long go down to nothing. It is an embarrassment to the church. Cause nobody would be making that you have AIDS unless a homosexual man didn’t come out and reveal what you did behind closed doors … they have yet to deny it… You cannot give instructions to God’s holiness with that much perversion. You, as a man, would open your mouth and take a man’s penis in your face? You are perverted and you better not tell me, thus saith the Lord. You are perverted. You are a woman that would shake your face in another woman’s breasts? You are perverted, and its coming into our church and it has embarrassed the Kingdom of God.”
Burrell continues, “Anybody in the room who is living with a homosexual spirit, beg God to free you. If you play with it in 2017 you’ll die from it. If you play with it in 2017 in God’s house you’ll die from it… That perverted homosexual spirit is a spirit of delusion and confusion and it has deceived many men and women. And it has caused a stain on the body of Christ. And those homosexual spirits have been angry and they come up against you [saying] ‘you gotta love everybody.’ Sit down you serpent.”
Imagine the Greenleaf character Tye or the many other men who have agonized with this secret sitting in the congregation listening to a sermon such as Burrell’s. They have begged God, pleaded with God and don’t know what to do. It chips away at the soul, the self esteem and self worth of a person, leaving them vulnerable and or depressed looking for an escape or determined to not be a stereotype. The escape can show up in many forms, infidelity, violence, alcoholism, drug abuse, anonymous risky sex or suicide. Oftentimes putting themselves and others in harms way. Consciously and subconsciously, hurt people hurt other people and every action has consequences.
Eddie Long who was a leader in anti-gay marches and ministries in the early 2000’s settled with his accusers in 2011. Long passed away January 2017, two weeks after the Burrell sermon. Although Long never admitted to the allegations he became a victim of the same emotional and spiritual abuse he issued out. Burrell was uninvited to appear on The Ellen Show (hosted by openly gay comedian Ellen Degeneres) days after the video went viral. Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) who initially announced Burrell would receive the prestigious BMI Trailblazer Award, in a public statement rescinded the honor and uninvited her to the awards show. The 9th commandment says “Thou shalt not lie” but when the culture is prepared to crucify you it becomes difficult to walk in your truth, ask B. Slade.
Multi-Grammy and multi-Stellar Award winner B. Slade, formerly known as gospel singer Tonéx revealed his sexual preference in a 2009 interview. The backlash from the Christian community was brutal. Blade was ridiculed by ex-gay preacher and gospel artist Donnie McClurkin at a national youth conference. Although the road was rough, B. Slade has become somewhat of a hero. He is now one of the most sought after writers/producers in both secular and gospel music. Recently he had the internet buzzing after releasing a song slamming members of the Black church who shame him because he’s gay. “Y’all haters corny with that ‘He needs deliverance’/check out your choir stand/They all need deliverance,” Slade raps. “Attack my character, but half of y’all closeted.” He continues, “Alto’s sleeping with the drummer now she back at the altar/alto’s sleeping with the bass player/now she back at the altar/Pastors trying to get my number in the lobby right after/you don’t know the price that I paid for my box of Alabastor… I snatched them wigs but you ain’t gonna snatch my salvation.” Despite the condemnation, the singer says he’ll continue to “pray for my haters” and declared, “I’m anointed with my shoulder pads and my snatched waist and ya’ll hate it.”
It’s time to cancel this reality show, the cost is too high. We need to come to the negotiation table and have a REAL conversation. If we lead with LOVE, COMPASSION and TOLERANCE, we CAN break the cycle and open up the door for AUTHENTICITY! Remember your life is the only bible some people will ever read …What will yours say?
THINK about it …BE inspired and …GET U SOME!