He sings a duet with her in Hidden Figures and is about to appear alongside her on national television, but right now Pharrell Williams is distancing himself from Kim Burrell, the singer and preacher who was caught on tape calling gay people “perverted.” He never mentioned Burrell by name but his Instagram message was an obvious reference to the controversy over the video.
“I condemn hate speech of any kind,” wrote Williams. “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.”
Burrell is also getting a round of backlash from the likes of activist Deray McKesson, who said he hopes for the many queer people around her to quit. That’s despite a sort of clarification Burrell posted on Facebook, claiming she was talking about sin broadly and never said all gay people were going to hell.
Here’s the line that directly addresses same-sex love from the Burrell sermon: “That perverted homosexual spirit, and the spirit of delusion and confusion, it has deceived many men and women,” said Burrell. “You as a man, you open your mouth and take a man’s penis in your face — you are perverted. You are a woman and will shake your face in another woman’s breast, you are perverted.”
The Ellen DeGeneres Show hasn’t issued any statement on its plans for how to handle Burrell as a guest on the upcoming show. Other celebs from the Hidden Figures film, though, have been adding their strongly worded disapproval of the sermon.
“I agree,” wrote actress Octavia Spencer while sharing Williams’ statement on Instagram. “We are all God’s children equal in his eyes. Hatred isn’t the answer. Intolerance isn’t the answer.”
Taraji P. Henson hasn’t shared a statement yet. But Janelle Monáe, another of the stars of Hidden Figures and a well known figure in music herself, had strong words.
“I shouldn’t even have to post this as you guys should already know where I stand,” wrote Monáe. Monáe said “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.” Monáe didn’t exactly offer advice on how to handle Burrell’s track being included in the movie but she called for speaking out. “We cannot sit Idly by nor will we speak silently when we are confronted with such violence against members of our community,” she wrote, adding that sometimes “I want to slap a lot of people” when she hears their bigotry.
Monáe specifically condemned religious-based bigotry, the kind of which Burrell spewed in her sermon. Burrell later claimed the sermon was intended for “church people” and not the wider internet.
“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,” wrote Monáe. “And fast.”
Here’s is Monáe’s complete post, which includes the image shared by Williams:
I shouldn't even have to post this as you guys should already know where I stand but If you do not pls know I unequivocally repudiate ANY AND ALL hateful comments against the LGBTQ community. In addition, I feel 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. We cannot sit Idly by nor will we speak silently when we are confronted with such violence against members of our community. 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! 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. If the religion don't make you are more loving or better person, ditch it. But what do I know. My hope is that we ALL go into this new year considering for one moment that we don't have all the answers. My hope is that we become more understanding, less judgmental, more tolerate, and more patient with one another. Including me. HAPPY NEW YEAR. ??❤