What did Kim Burrell say? Controversy explained as church video remarks spark online backlash

Kim Burrell (Image via Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)
Kim Burrell (Image via Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

In a recent viral clip, Kim Burrell seemingly referred to attendees at one of Pastor Brian Carn's churches as 'ugly.' As of now, further information regarding the video is unavailable since the earliest uploads of the clip did not state when or where it was recorded.

The video saw the renowned gospel singer make controversial statements about church-goers. Burrell stated an observation about people who attend churches and their financial status. She insinuated that these people were often broke.

Burrell made multiple jokes about similar subjects during the sermon. Furthermore, the 49-year-old Houston native paused after her jokes for dramatic effect. Many of the attendees laughed at her quips, as captured in the video.

What did Kim Burrell say as she addressed the congregation at Pastor Brian Carn's church?


While the exact context of what seems to be a joke is not known, the singer-songwriter brought up the financial status and appearance of church attendees. Kim Burrell said:

"Sometimes before we get friends we have to do an interview: How long you been broke? How many times have you changed your name on your light bill? How many of your bills are in your little cousin's name? Do you live in a trailer home or a house?

In reference to being materialistic, she then added:

"It's just about choices. Life is different now. We're at church."

She further commended the attendees for being present at the church without the need for vaccination or masks against COVID-19.

During her address, Burrell praised Pastor Brian Carn and referred to him as "truth personified." However, she seemingly proceeded to insult the church-goers as she referred to them as 'ugly.' Later in the video, she was seen making further jokes about the attendees' appearance, but there was a lack of enthusiastic cheer that time around.

Kim Burrell said:

"No one likes to be told that, especially when they have realized it…Most don't get offended until they know the bad thing about themselves, and then somebody else recognizes it and says, 'oh I saw the ugly, too. Just wanted to let you know.'"

She further added:

"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."

Netizens react to Kim Burrell's video

After the video was uploaded online, the Everlasting Life singer received much flak for what netizens perceived to be vicious and hateful comments.

I heard Kim Burrell needed a PR edit... Happy to help
Kim Burrell has always been a bad look for Christians. She doesn’t use her platform well or in an uplifting matter. But she is not God… your relationship with him is personal. It’s not about the church people…Don’t allow people to rob you of that experience.
When the music stops, Kim Burrell definitely do not live the life she sings about in her songs.…
This is what we call gaslighting. This is what we call a non apology-apology. This is what we call doubling down on stupid. This is what we call fake accountability. Basically, I did it but y’all doing it to me too. Oh and my lawyers are on deck btw! Kim Burrell is a joke.
Dayyyuum! Preacher Kim Burrell should be hired to play Ursula the Wicked Sea Witch because, whew chile, she is evil, mean AF, and ignant, down to the bone marrow. Yes, I said ignant.…
I know people like Kim Burrell exist in the world, I’m not naive — but I was happier before I saw this and got more confirmation I didn’t need about how evil and divisive a person can be, especially when they’re preaching at a church.
It concerns me how many working class Black people think like Kim Burrell not because they have money but because they want to assimilate into whiteness.
Idgaf HOW good of a singer Kim Burrell is, she’s a nasty person with horrible edges.
Classic gaslighting, defection and now being a victim. Kim Burrell ladies and gentlemen. Of course, guess who has her back. 🤦🏾‍♀️ Take the open rebuke Sis. Learn and grow. That’s maturity. We all speak out of turn at some point. You are no exception.
From Kim Burrell's remarks about "ugly" to T.D. Jakes' discourse on femininity, I wish the Black church would consider what they're saying about Blackness itself.Really, really think about this more carefully.

Numerous netizens further alleged that her faith in Christianity is now different compared to what she had portrayed over the years.

Kim Burrell's clarification about the viral video

Burrell took to Instagram to share a statement where she attempted to label her statements as jokes. She further called out the social media posts made against her following the church video's remarks. The singer-songwriter claimed that her comments are being reported without context to spew slander against her.

In her statement, Burrell mentioned:

"Please be mindful of what is both written and said (via video) about me especially if it contains untruths. Slander and defamation are not taken lightly, especially if it affects my name, image or brand. Those pages wherein vile comments and false narratives have been created have been noted, reported, and hopefully silenced. Again, I will apologize if anyone thought that my humor was malicious, but I will not under any circumstance tolerate harassment, slander, or for my character to be defamed."

This is not the first time the singer has found herself in hot waters. Previously, in 2016, Kim Burrell had received much flak over her comments about the LGBTQ community.

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Edited by Mohini Banerjee
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