Famed Gospel Singer Kim Burrell Apologizes for Calling Churchgoers 'Broke' and 'Ugly'

Kim Burrell has apologized after she called churchgoers "broke" and "ugly" during a recent church guest appearance. Amid continued backlash in response to the sermon, which was shared on social media, the 49-year-old Houston-based musician, who's worked with Mariah Carey, Frank Ocean and JAY-Z, issued a written apology on social media in which she acknowledged that "some of my words, even if said in jest, can be offensive."

In the since-deleted post, per Distractify, Burrell said that her "intention is never to hurt anyone, but to spread love, laughter, and more importantly, the gift which God has given me in song. If anyone was offended, I can sincerely say I apologize." Although the singer apologized "if anyone was offended," she noted that "those who are criticizing my statement are displaying the very thing they have accused me of however, it's not been humorous, or in jest," sharing that her "image has been used in multiple places and false statements and narratives have been created" before adding, "The punitive damages for some are quite lofty."

While that post was later deleted amid criticism that it was defensive and threatening, Burrell uploaded a second apology. In a video shared to her account Wednesday, Burrell said, "I'm sorry. I mean it. I mean that. Not from the letter, from my heart." Addressing the backlash to her initial statement, the musician explained, "it did not convey right at all, and I must tell you this – it was from an attorney that asked me to do it."

"I came back because I do love you," she continued. "This ain't about dates, this ain't about keeping my career, this is about keeping love real. I love you guys so much, and I'm really, truly sorry. I did not want to hurt you, I don't want to hurt you, I don't plan on hurting you, and I pray that you will heal from this. I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart."

The apology came days after Burrell stepped into backlash with her now-viral sermon at one of Brian Carn's Kingdom City Church locations over the weekend, during which she said, "before we get friends, we have to do an interview," she says in the speech. "How long have you been broke? How long have you changed your name on your light bill? Do you live in a trailer home or house? It's not about status or material things, it's just about choices." In the speech, she also commented on the appearance of churchgoers, stating, "who likes to be told you're just ugly? No one likes to be told that. Most don't get offended until they know the bad thing about themselves... I haven't chosen anyone to be ugly yet. God is good. God is great. You all look great. Most of you have on hats covering most of that anyway. Here's to you."

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The clip marked just the latest controversy for Burrell. Back in 2017, the gospel singer's scheduled appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show was canceled after a video emerged showing Burrell making anti-LGBTQ+ comments during a sermon. Burrell later addressed those comments, sharing in a since-deleted Facebook Live video, "to every person that is dealing with the homosexual spirit, that has it, I love you because God loves you. But God hates the sin in you and me, anything that is against the nature of God. I'm called to do what God called me to do, and that's it, and I do it with passion."