"I'm more than a little disgruntled and want to rectify something," said McClurkin in a video uploaded to SocialCam. "This is bullying, discrimination and intolerance! This is depriving someone of their civil rights! These are ... systematic ... bullying tactics."
The Saturday concert was the first in a series of events over the next two weeks that will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. The late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his iconic "I Have A Dream" at the march, which was one of the seminal events of the Civil Rights Movement. The event was organized by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Local activists were outraged that McClurkin was associated with the event and pressured officials to remove McClurkin from the lineup.
The 1963 March on Washington was organized by the openly gay and late Bayard Rustin, the top lieutenant and strategist to Dr. King. The White House announced last week that President Barack Obama has posthumously named Rustin as one of sixteen new recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
McClurkin now claims that his "civil rights" have been violated by the District government. "Quite unfortunate that today a Black man, a Black artist, is uninvited
from a civil rights movement that depicts love, unity, peace and
tolerance," said McClurkin. "This is an infringement on my civil rights. Imagine that, in the 21st century, imagine that I, a Black man was uninvited from civil rights!"
McClurkin never fully explained the controversy behind his Washington D.C. booking and only provides an oblique, cursory reference. "This is all about a stand that I took," said the gospel legend and Pentecostal minister. "But I was never was derogatory against any lifestyle."
McClurkin is correct about one thing: This is about "bullying" and "intolerance" ... except he is not on the side "of love, unity, peace and
tolerance." McClurkin has become the poster child for the church-based homophobia that is making life horrible for millions of Black gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender youth in the church.
Now have a seat, hunty ... a stadium of seats and nowhere near the stage. Watch the video and read a partial transcript AFTER THE JUMP ...
The office of Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has pressured the "ex-gay" Grammy Award winning gospel singer and evangelist Donnie McClurkin to "withdraw as a performer at a city-sponsored concert" scheduled to take place to tonight at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, reports Lou Chibarro at the Washington Blade.
McClurkin’s withdrawal from the event, which is being organized by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, came one day after local gay activist and longtime civil rights advocate Phil Pannell called the gospel singer’s public statements on homosexuality "vile."
Pannell and other LGBT activists said McClurkin’s participation in the event would be at odds with King’s call for ending discrimination and injustice against all people.
"The Mayor directed the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to ask Donnie McClurkin to withdraw," Gray spokesperson Doxie McCoy told the Blade in an email. "No disrespect to Mr. McClurkin, but Mayor Gray thought it best that he withdraw from the concert in the name of not having his appearance to be a distraction at an event about peace, love and justice for all," McCoy said.
Tonight's concert is the first in a series of events over the next two weeks that will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. The late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his iconic "I Have A Dream" at the march, which was one of the seminal events of the Civil Rights Movement.
The 1963 March on Washington was organized by the openly gay and late Bayard Rustin, the top lieutenant and strategist to Dr. King. The White House announced this week that President Barack Obama has posthumously named Rustin as one of sixteen new recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The "ex-gay" singer and evangelist headlined Boston's 2010 Gospel Fest despite similar calls to withdraw his name as a performer. McClurkin has won three Grammy awards, ten Stellar awards and an NAACP Image Award—among other accolades—for his gospel music.
somewhat addressed the persistent rumors about his sexuality and personal life. The
gospel singer maintains he is no longer gay ... but
has suggested that he still experiences same-sex urges. McClurkin has comparing homosexuality to
diabetes: "I don’t eat sugar but it doesn’t mean that I don’t want sugar."
A Marine is in police custody, charged with second-degree murder and accused of fatally stabbing a fellow Marine. The early Saturday fight at Marine Barracks Washington reportedly began when the suspect used a gay slur to refer to the victim, Washington D.C. police tell the AP.
Police said the suspect, Michael Joseph Poth, lives at the barracks. Poth, 20, allegedly used a pocketknife to stab Philip Bushong once in the chest. Bushong, 23, who was based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., died at a hospital. Poth has been charged with second-degree murder.
Marine Capt. John Norton, a Marine Barracks Washington spokesman, said Bushong's death is "obviously a tragedy" and said the Marines are cooperating with local authorities. Police said they believe the two men did not know each other before the fight.
On Saturday night and Sunday, Bushong’s friends struggled to comprehend an act of violence that they said appeared to stem from something trivial and senseless. Authorities have said that one witness heard Poth use an anti-gay slur during the argument between the two men. Bushong’s friends said Bushong was not gay, nor was he homophobic. "You could have called him gay, and he wouldn’t have cared," said Nishith Pandya, 28. "He would have laughed."
Bushong's murder becomes the most recent in a series of high-profile violent incidents involving Marines and gay victims. In June 2010, two Marines were charged with battery after beating a gay man so viciously that he was left unconscious on the street. Both suspects claimed "unwanted" verbal advances.
In December 2009, 26-year-old former Marine Michael J. Griffin admitted to fatally stabbing Don Belton, the distinguished Black gay writer and beloved Indiana University professor. Griffin claimed "gay panic" and that Belton seduced him.
In June 2009, 29-year-old Navy Seaman August Provost III, who was gay and out to family and some co-workers, was brutally murdered at the sentry station at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Provost was shot three times, had his hands and feet bound, his mouth gagged, and body burned. A fellow seaman was arrested the same night, charged one month later and committed suicide while in custody.
Furr entered the plea during a hearing in D.C. Superior Court. Another hearing is scheduled for April 13. Furr has been held in jail since his arrest in August. He was charged with nine offenses — including multiple counts of assault and assault with a dangerous weapon — after an incident in which, according to authorities and interviews, he tried to solicit sex from transgender women, leading to a collision between two vehicles and gunfire.
Furr was indicted Wednesday. The indictment said Furr, off-duty and intoxicated in the early hours of the morning on August 26, fired five shots through the windshield of a car in which the transgender women were riding, striking one passenger in the arm and hand.
In interviews, one said Furr approached her as she walked into a CVS in Northwest Washington. “His eyes were bloodshot,” she said. “I could smell the liquor on his breath. He told me he wanted to pay me to have sex with me. He kept trying to get me in his car.”
Furr did not touch her, she said, but he continued to harass her until a male friend intervened. She left the store with the friend, and they drove off with three other people in a car, she said. ... The woman who accused Furr of harassment said she was sitting in the back seat of one of the cars when the crash occurred. She and her friends did not know then that the other car was Furr’s, she said.
"He hopped out of the car, gun drawn, and started shooting at us," said the other transgender woman, who also reported being wounded. "He was yelling, 'What now? What now? All of y’all are going to die tonight.'"
Police said that one man was hit by gunfire and that the two transgender women were injured; all three suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.
Black LGBT activists and leaders from across the country were in Washington DC for an historic reception and dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial. National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks said Black LGBTs must press for equality. "We must be proud enough to claim that we are a part of the civil rights movement. And dare anyone to challenge us on that."
"Gay activists who participated on the historic March on Washington were also recognized at the event. The evening concluded with a push to honor Dr. King’s trusted openly gay advisor Bayard Rustin with a postage stamp," notes NoMoreDownLow.
"Everyone remembers Dr. Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech from 1963. So few people know that [openly gay] Bayard Rustin was responsible for organizing the march," adds North Carolina-based activist Mandy Carter.
There has been a renewed focus on MLK's strategist as the nation prepared to dedicate the King Memorial. The Washington Post recently published an excellent profile of Rustin that stressed that most civil rights leaders and historians have ignored Rustin's legacy because of his sexuality.
The view from the gate and toward Ethiopian Airlines Flight 501 at Washington DC's Dulles International. I've been invited to sit on a panel and report from the high-level International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The five-day ICASA 2011 begins Sunday, December 4. Then a few days of R&R in Kenya before returning.
The trip is sponsored by ICASA and the Ethiopian government. It's truly an honor to be recognized for my reporting on HIV/AIDS and LGBT issues across the Black Diaspora. I'll also be reporting for one of the European news outlets from ICASA.
The fun part: The Boeing 777 flies non-stop to Addis Ababa in about 13 hours! Plus: Ethiopia is 8 hours ahead of the US East Coast. I'll likely be offline for the next two days from transit and jetlag. R20 will pick up some speed later Sunday.
Awww. One of the Maryland lawmakers responsible for derailing marriage equality in that state has been as charged with embezzling campaign funds "in part to pay for her [own] wedding," reports the Washington Post.
Del. Tiffany T. Alston, 34, a little-known freshman state lawmaker before this spring, is charged with writing herself checks and cashing them to pay for at least $3,560 in expenses for her wedding day. According to the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor, she also wrote herself checks to help pay the salary of an employee in her law firm.
Alston’s wedding, attended by some fellow lawmakers and sorority sisters, was derided this spring by some gay activists. With whispers and shrugs outside Annapolis hearing rooms, some said it was ironic that so close to the celebration of her own nuptials a lawmaker reversed course and opposed letting gays marry in Maryland.
Among other charges detailed Friday in a five-count indictment filed in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, Alston faces a charge of felony theft, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. She also is charged with one count of misdemeanor theft, one count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary and two election law violations. The misdemeanor charge also carries a potential 18-month prison term.
The Democrat initially co-sponsored the marriage equality bill but later opposed it "for [her] constituents." When the bill was in committee, Alston and another delegate literally ran from the hearing room to delay the vote.
A healthy slab of beefsteak is on today's menu. Menswear designer Andrew Nowell debuts his new(ish) underwear line DaSoul. The models—especially dark and lovely Luis Valdez—certainly are fit in all the right places.
Washington DC-based designer Andrew Nowell is hot new talent in the fashion industry. Nowell is one of the relatively few Black male designers branding underwear.
It was around this point in August 1963, in the sweltering days before the March on Washington, that Eleanor Holmes Norton was waiting for someone to say something really nasty about her boss. She was a march volunteer. The boss was Bayard Rustin, the march’s chief organizer and the man widely viewed as the only civil rights activist capable of pulling off a protest of such unprecedented scale.
And he was gay. Openly gay. That year again? 1963.
"I was sure the attacks would come because I knew what they could attack Bayard for," says Norton, now the District’s nonvoting delegate to Congress. "When the anniversary comes around, frankly I think of Bayard as much as I think of King. King could hardly have given the speech if the march had not been so well attended and so well organized. If there had been any kind of disturbance, that would have been the story."
In 1960, Adam Clayton Powell, the minister-congressman from Harlem, threatened to float a rumor that King was one of Rustin’s lovers if King didn’t exile him from his inner circle. King pushed him away, reluctantly, and Rustin resigned from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
"Bayard had a lot of baggage — communist youth member, conscientious objector," says Walter Naegle, Rustin’s partner for the last decade of his life. "But being gay was the one thing that was still unforgivable to a lot of civil rights leaders."
But others never abandoned him, most notably A. Philip Randolph, a dean of the movement and Rustin’s longtime mentor. When the moment came for an unprecedented mass gathering in Washington, Randolph pushed Rustin forward as the logical choice to organize it.
In mid-August, with the march looming over Washington as a growing juggernaut, it was then-Sen. Strom Thurmond who took aim at the man steering it. Speaking on the Senate floor, the South Carolina segregationist, then a Democrat, filled eight pages of the Congressional Record with detailed denunciations of Rustin as a draft-dodging communist homosexual and a convicted “sex pervert.” Thurmond had the entire file of [Rustin's arrest on a morals charge] entered in the record.
Bayard Rustin was openly gay in the 1950s and early 1960s—even in the South. That is an incredible profile in courage.