BMI Cancels Its Invite For Kim Burrell to Its Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards

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By Victor Trammell

Gospel singer Kim Burrell (pictured) came under fire last week when a video went viral of her giving a rant on homo$exuality in front of a congregation at a church in her hometown of Houston, Texas recently.

Burrell’s strong words, which voiced her opposition to the LGBT community’s lifestyle have disrupted her career in the short-term. Christianity has taught over the centuries that same $ex-marriages and relationships between gay and lesbian couples are against the laws of God.

Though it led to a negative reaction, Burrell legally exercised her right to freedom of speech by sharing her views on this highly debated issue.

However, Burrell’s routine got her bombarded with backlash after a number of high-profile celebrities took to social media to express their disapproval. Singer/actress/model Janelle Monae, music producer Pharrell Williams, and daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres all publicly denounced Burrell’s comments.

The openly gay DeGeneres even announced that a future appearance by Burrell on her talk show had been cancelled. Monae, a staunch advocate of the LGBT community delivered a lengthy, scathing rebuke of Burrell in a message she posted on social media.

Williams (who was one of Burrell’s music producers) had a anti-gay bashing social media post of his captioned in Monae’s message. It’s accurate to say that Burrell had a tough week as the media and world of celebrity made her into a pariah. However, things have just gotten tougher for the embattled Christian songwriter.

BMI, is one of the world’s biggest performing rights organizations. Every year, the mega music publisher (which does business in all music genres) sponsors the very popular Trailblazers of Gospel Awards Show. According to Billboard.com, BMI has cancelled Burrell’s appearance as a part of the awards show (scheduled for Jan. 14th).

In a statement released this past Friday (January 6th), BMI expressed its decision to do away with Burrell’s invitation. The BMI statement reads as follows:

“BMI’s Trailblazers of Gospel Music is an annual celebration of gospel music and its many talented songwriters. Given the controversy surrounding this year’s co-honoree Kim Burrell, we have asked her to not take part in the ceremony in order to allow the focus to remain on the songwriters and their music. BMI was founded over 76 years ago with an open door policy to welcome songwriters across all genres, and that same spirit of tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness continues today.”

A number of other accomplished celebrities in entertainment have certainly done what Burrell is being chastised for. However, their support from large corporate entertainment enterprises like BMI was not discontinued.

Country singer Blake Shelton’s case is clear cut example of the blatant double standard that exists. After Shelton’s homophobic rants on social media made headline news in August 2016, the former panelist on The Voice apologized (like Burrell did) and eluded any real career consequences for his words.

In fact, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. is planning a $20 million-dollar project for an opulent Nashville, Tennessee bar that is being themed and constructed in Shelton’s honor, according to an online news article published January 5th by USA Today.

At press time, Burrell or any representative of her public relations team had released a statement sharing a reaction to BMI’s reactive maneuvering.

Source 1: http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7647840/kim-burrell-not-take-part-bmi-gospel-music-honors-anti-gay

Source 2: http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/17/entertainment/blake-shelton-apology-tweets/

Source 3: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2017/01/05/blake-shelton-themed-honky-tonk-ole-red-planned-for-nashville/96197222/

 

 

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