God is not pleased: Kim Burrell plants seeds of discord by pitting two singers against each other

Photo Credit: Getty/EEW Magazine

Photo Credit: Getty/EEW Magazine

Article By Kendra Wyatt // EEW Magazine // Opinion

Kim Burrell is rightfully celebrated as one of the most gifted Gospel vocalists in the world— a role model to other singers, in fact. But she recently set a bad example by openly criticizing one songstress to build up another.

In a viral video clip, 46-year-old Burrell, known for being outspoken to a fault, tactlessly said Le’Andria Johnson is a better songster than Fantasia Barrino. Why would she do that?

In context, Burrell’s commentary was intended to encourage a troubled Johnson after she admitted to  spiritual coach, Iyanla Vanzant, host of OWN’s Iyanla: Fix My Life, that she is an alcoholic, wrestling with grief, faith, and addiction.

“Girl, you got this,” said Burrell. “You are anointed, you are a chosen of the Lord. The hand of the Lord is upon your life, and you’re such a warrior.”

The inspiring message started out well, but took a quick nosedive. “I was watching her sing tonight,” Burrell told the audience, “and I was just shaking my head [and thinking], if they’re going to make a movie about Aretha [Franklin], if they know a real singer they’ll call you—if they want to do Aretha any kind of justice. Now I like Fantasia, but she ain’t no Le’Andria.”

Someone in the audience yelled back, “No, she’s not,” agreeing that Barrino was vocally inferior to Johnson.

As you see, by offering an unsolicited opinion which should have never been given voice—particularly not in the house of God—Burrell planted seeds of discord, prompting fierce and widespread social media backlash.

Burrell added, “Why y’all don’t like to tell the truth? Ain’t no way in the world.”

But whose truth is she telling? When did her opinion about vocalists’ abilities become the final authority? It seems that Burrell’s outsized ego has made her forget that Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Many began calling Burrell “messy” and “arrogant,” while noting that her behavior was unbecoming to a Christian who should promote love and unity.

Arguably, Burrell’s critical words were not only unnecessary, classless, and divisive, but they were also irrelevant in light of the fact that, before Franklin’s death, she chose Academy Award-winning actress and singer, Jennifer Hudson, to star in the official biopic about her life.

Clearly, Burrell should stick to riffing instead of causing rifts among singers by spewing out whatever she feels like saying. Here’s an even better idea: Ms. Burrell should read, focus on, and apply these five scriptures:

  • “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

  • “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” (Romans 14:19)

  • “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)

  • “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6)

  • “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)