Donnie McClurkin withdrew from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Concert at the mayor’s request. Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray asked McClurkin to refrain from performing due to an ongoing controversy.
The event, Reflections on Peace: From Gandhi to King, was meant to honor the fight for human rights. McClurkin, a gospel singer, has spoken out against homosexuality. Activists contend that McClurkin did not belong in the event, which promotes civil rights.
As reported by The Washington Post, McClurkin identifies himself as a former homosexual. He explains that God spared him from “the curse” of his homosexuality. He has since denounced homosexuals, stating that he was “delivered” and that others can be saved as well.
Donnie McClurkin states that his homosexual feelings were the result of sexual abuse he experienced as a child. Though religion, he feels that he has been saved from a deviant lifestyle.
As reported by EURWeb.com, his scheduled performance was protested by numerous civil rights organizations. The controversy prompted Mayor Gray to ask McClurkin to cancel his performance.
Doxie McCoy, spokeswoman for Mayor Gray, explained the decision:
“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.”
McClurkin released a video statement in response to the request. He cites freedom of speech, stating that his words against homosexuality were spoken “in love.” He contends that he has not condemned homosexuals, he has merely explained that they do have a choice.
As reported by MTV.com, McCurkin grew up in an abusive home. He eventually went to live with an aunt, who introduced him to gospel music. He was mentored by gospel legend Andraé Crouch,
McClurkin excelled as a gospel singer, earning three Grammy Awards, and a NAACP Image Award.
In addition to his musical fame, McClurkin serves as senior pastor of Perfecting Faith Church. His work as a pastor includes counseling homosexuals about changing their lives.
Donnie McClurkin did not perform at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial concert. However, the rest of the events will go on as planned. The celebration will continue through August 28.