Platinum-selling Gospel star Donnie McClurkin took to social media to share with fans that he was unhappy about being uninvited to a concert he was slated to headline in Washington, D.C. celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. and the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington on last Saturday.
According to the 53-year-old singer, he was asked not to appear at the celebration by Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s office.
“Last night, on the way to the airport, we received a telephone call from the promoters who had received word from the Mayor’s office –Mayor Gray’s office– as well as the arts commission that I was not welcomed and uninvited the night before the concert,” McClurkin said via SocialCam. “[It’s] quite unfortunate that in today a black man, a black artist is uninvited from a civil rights movement depicting the love, the unity, the peace, the tolerance.”
Previously, the Grammy winner has spoke out against homosexuality and said God “delivered him” from “the curse” of homosexuality.
Mayor’s Gray’s office asked McClurkin not to appear after local gay activist 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 Washington Blade in an emailed statement. “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.”
In another statement, Commission Executive Director Lionell Thomas said: “So that Donnie’s participation did not become a distraction from the goals of the program, a mutual decision was reached between the DCCAH and his management team that it was best for him to withdraw from the event.”
McClurkin expressed on the video that he feels that he is the one actually being discriminated against.
“These are bully tactics simply because of stances that I took never, ever demeaning, never, ever derogatorily addressing any, any lifestyle,” he said.
McClurkin, who is a judge on the hit BET competition series “Sunday Best,” has vowed that the matter is not over yet.
“There will be further dealings with this and I can not let this go undone. Pray for me as I go further in rectifying this situation and try to make sure this does not happen to anyone else. There should be always freedom of speech as long as it’s done in love and as long as it’s done peaceable. But for others to believe in politics that they can punish for having the freedom of speech in love, well that kind of intolerance and that kind of bias par, that kind of action should be taken to another level.” he concluded.
The concert on Saturday at the King Memorial was entitled “Reflections on Peace: From Gandhi to King.” The program is the first in a series of events scheduled to take place in D.C. over the next two weeks to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for civil rights at which King delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.
The Arts and Humanities Commission replaced McClurkin on the concert with award-winning Gospel singer Byron Cage.
Earlier this year, the DC government received backlash from local gay activists for paying $80,000 to Gospel star Kirk Franklin to perform at a DC Emancipation Day. Gay rights groups feel Franklin’s views on homosexuality in his book, “The Blueprint” were homophobic.
In the tome, Franklin wrote: “We can never compromise what the Bible says about homosexuality.”