A gospel singer who claims that God delivered him from being gay was removed from a concert lineup on Saturday evening after gay rights activists objected to his participation ahead of the event. Donnie McClurkin was supposed to perform at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray asked the Grammy-winning singer not to perform.
“The Arts and Humanities Commission and Donnie McClurkin’s management decided that it would be best for him to withdraw because the purpose of the event is to bring people together,” said Gray’s spokeswoman, Doxie McCoy. “Mayor Gray said the purpose of the event is to promote peace and harmony. That is what King was all about.”
McClurkin claims that he was “asked not to attend” and that Gray “uninvited me from a concert that I was supposed to headline.” He posted his thoughts about the situation in a video.
“There should be freedom of speech as long as it’s done in love,” McClurkin said in the video. He also said that it is too bad that in today’s world, “a black man, a black artist is uninvited from a civil rights movement depicting the love, the unity, the peace, the tolerance.”
McClurkin wrote about his struggles with homosexuality on a Christian website in 2002. “I’ve been through this and have experienced God’s power to change my lifestyle,” he wrote. “I am delivered and I know God can deliver others, too.”
Concert Director Nolan Williams said he would have preferred McClurkin to have performed, Fox News reported.
“Even in Tiananmen Square, they were singing ‘We Shall Overcome.’ The fight for human rights is a global fight that has to bring us together,” Williams said. “That has to bring us together whenever there are differences of opinions or differences in views. We still need to find a place to come together even when we don’t agree.”