How Gay Gospel Artists Left a Tainted Legacy for Today’s Generation [Part 1]
Originally posted on July 4, 2011:
This is an AT2W Replay that has sparked a huge interest in what was embedded in the gospel music industry for years.
We’ve had this weighing heavy on our hearts when it comes to gospel artists from yesteryear and the impact it has on our generation today. When we speak of our generation, we do mean for all of us living today not just for the young folk, as some may believe.
Looking back at gospel music, especially in the black church, makes many of us think of the good days. We reminisce on how anointed the music was then and how it ushered the spirit of God into a place that raised the dead. For those of you who can think back to The Caravans, The Barrett Sisters, The William Brothers, Mahalia Jackson, Rev. James Cleveland and so many more, those were good days.
But just as they inspired us to live on just one more day, the gospel artists that catered to our thirsty souls, had demons they were battling. There’s no secret to the rumors of many gospel artist like many of the members of The Caravans with popular soloists Shirley Caesar, Albertina Walker, Casietta George and Dorothy Norwood were alleged lesbians; Clara Ward was allegedly known to have occasional hook ups with women and Rev. James Cleveland allegedly lived a life of homosexuality that the church turned a blind eye to but he created some of the most soul stirring gospel music ever made. These are just a few gospel artists from the past that lived their lives as alleged Christians, sang gospel songs in the name of Jesus but lived total different lives outside of the church and some in the church!
We will use one singer who has a story that will prove that gay gospel singers effect their children’s lives and the industry of gospel music.
Popular R&B singer from the 1990′s, Miki Howard had to endure the pain of such lifestyles and the dysfunction it had on her life growing up and as an adult. Miki Howard was born to Josephine Howard and Clay Graham. The two parents gave Miki a musical inspiration as they were both gospel singers. Her mother was a member of the gospel group The Caravans and her father was a member of the Pilgrim Jubilee Singers in the early 1960′s.
Miki Howard may have received the gift of song from her parents but she was tormented by the dysfunctional reality of her absent father and lesbian mother. On the popular series TV One’s ‘Unsung’ , Miki Howard told her story openly how her mother was a lesbian, most of the time. While her mother toured constantly, she had no role models. But when her mother was home or off tour, she turned their family home into a jazz club, inviting everyone from the secular arena like Billy Preston to Chubby Checker. So this meant, her mother would sing gospel music with the group The Caravans but came home to a life of secular luxury living in flesh of her lusts. At age five, she was sent to a foster home because neither parents could take care of Miki and her sister. She explained in an interview with Lee Bailey of Eurweb.
While growing up, she endured the ridicule of playmates at school and in the neighborhood who knew about her mother’s lifestyle. She stated it was difficult growing up in a household with a mother who was a lesbian gospel singer. It surely played a part in many of her own failed relationships with men and never really fulfilling the need of love.
“… I grew up in a completely gay environment. So, I had no idea about men. I knew nothing! When I tell you nothing, I mean nothing…That’s not a good thing…”
Miki Howard reminds us of how she witnessed the hypocrisy in the church and how some people really did not live as they professed to be.
” I grew up in that situation where people lived one way and preached another,” said Howard. “Your values, your morals, your spirituality. You should live by that and not just preach it.”
She also stated that when her mother one day suddenly decided she was not gay and fell head over heels for a man that tried to molest her, her mother took sides with her ”man’ and put Miki out of the house. Eventually she fell into a life of drugs and bad relationships with men and her singing career collapsed.
While gospel artists from back in the day, should have been singing for God and not for show, they forgot to minister as an example of righteousness in their family homes and personal lives. By hearing her story, no one would dismiss the fact that she had emotional problems. These emotional pains caused confusion within her belief system.
Miki Howard says she has a relationship with God but is not sure if her life will permit her to go to heaven.
“…I’m not that person that’s going to sing ‘I’m going up yonder’ because I don’t know. I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t think I’m going to hell, but then again my beliefs are different than a lot of people…”I have studied the Bible, have studied people, have studied my sins, and my behaviors. I’ve learned what God and myself can live with because that’s our personal relationship…
We are not here to judge Miki Howard, but we are only pointing out the dysfunction of how gay gospel artists fall short of providing a upstanding and righteous image for not only their children but for the church and the world.
Due to the hypocrisy that is usually inevitable, many people in our generation today do not know how to live their lives Some of them either carry on the twisted trend or struggle with the mis-education of how real men and women of God should live and follow God.