I am late to blog this but school is sucking the life force out of me so until late December, expect me to not be as on top of things as I should be (which is ironic, since I am in J-school. But I digress.)
In any case while I was in classes all day, the blogosphere was aflame with the news that Barack Obama hired ex-gay gospel minister/megastar Donnie McClurkin for a tour to snatch up votes from the wanna be second Black Prez Hilary Clinton in South Carolina, aka “the Black Primary.” NOTE: I don’t really think Bill was the first Black President–by any stretch of the imagination. But again, I digress.
So what the hell is thebig deal? Black progressive columnist Earl Ofari Huchinson may have been the first to break this story, and if not, certainly is the one that folks pick up on. And while I am ususally wishing more straight Black people would be better allies to Black queers, the point at which they get to set the agenda for how Black queers should respond to things, I have a problem.
And I know the white gays are gonn have a fuckin’ field day with this but let’s face it: it’s not that Barack is necessarily homophobic, it’s a gospel tour! How is he gonna have a gospel tour and not have some homophobes along for the ride??? Along with McClurkin on the Obama tour is the duo Mary Mary, who may be worse homophobes that McClurkin if you ask me. They told Black gay blogger/entertainment journalist Clay Cane in March of this year exactly how they felt about their gay fans and homosexuality in general for VIBE:
Erica: Um… how do I feel about homosexuality? I feel how God feels about it, um… but I still love them. You know what I mean? I don’t agree with the lifestyle, but I love them. They can come to the concert; I’m going to hug them just like I hug everybody else. They have issues and need somebody to encourage them like everybody else – just like the murderer, just like the one full of pride, just like the prostitute, everybody needs God.
Tina: You know, I think the fact that our music is very, very upbeat and works well in clubs – you know, I think that’s something that makes more people gravitate to it. Like Erica said, we don’t necessarily agree with the lifestyle, but we don’t pride ourselves on bashing. Everyone has things in their life that they need to correct, everybody has struggles. Even though that’s the way we feel, we don’t bash, and we embrace everybody who enjoys our music. Hopefully our music is impacting them in a way that, if they see there’s some things in their life that’s not quite right and doesn’t align themselves with what the Bible says – hopefully our music impacts them in a way that makes them want to change it.
Anyhow, Obama is distancing himself from McClurkin now. Obama, has been pretty outfront in terms of talking about homophobia, especially in the Black community (and tying it to the HIV/AIDS epidemic) But I think that McClurkin, despite being an ex-gay, seems to be talking common sense to the Chicago Tribune on his views on homosexuality and his support of Obama–
“I don’t believe that even from a religious point of view that Jesus ever discriminated toward anyone, nor do I,” McClurkin said in an exclusive interview with the Tribune. “Most of the things that were said were totally out of context and then other things weren’t true.”
“My only concern is to be in place with Sen. Obama in unity and bring all the factors together for the sake of change,” he said. “That’s my only thing. Of course some agents have twisted it as though he [Obama] were embracing a racist or a Nazi, and that is anything but true.”
“I believe in his stance. I believe in his platform and his agenda. So when they asked me if I would be a part of it, there was no problem,” said McClurkin, who has performed at both parties’ conventions and identifies himself as a Democrat. “We don’t have to agree on everything, but we do have to agree on the main thing: that there needs to be change and I believe he is the candidate to bring it.”