By Chevonne Harris
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for gospel artists. Hot on the heels of the nude Deitrick Haddon photos, last week a video surfaced of gospel singer Kevin Terry performing oral sex on another man. While I can’t say I was completely surprised when the story broke (I have my suspicions about the sexuality of several men in the gospel industry), my heart did go out to the burgeoning artist. I couldn’t help but wonder how it must feel to live a life where you are forced to hide your true self, or to be so lost in your relationship with Christ that you consider yourself immune to, or somehow rationalize going against the gospels you emphatically sing.
While I’m sure Terry will find his way back to the cross and regain his fan base, witty oral sex jokes aside, there are actually a few learnings we can take away from the incident. Here are a few:
1. No Cameras Allowed. Ever.
How many leaked videos, exposed body parts and “I regret my actions” statements will it take before people get it? No matter your level of fame or platform, any documentation of your freaky ways is always a no-no. And if you must record, never, ever leave the evidence in the hands of your partner. I find it hard to believe that Terry was so in the throes of passion he failed to notice his lover pull out what appears to be a cell phone. Like many, he’s simply guilty of getting his freak on, and unfortunately his “freak on” happens to go against much of the Christian doctrine his career is based on. All in all, while it’s fun in the moment, an incriminating video in the hands of a scorned lover never ends well.
2. Godly in the Streets, but a Freak in the Sheets
Now I know church folk are notoriously a little more freaky in the bedroom but dang. From Kirk Franklin’s porn addiction admission to allegations of Bishop Eddie Long coercing young men into sex then buying their silence, the growing list of “Surprise, I have some side eye bedroom tendencies” is steadily growing. It makes you wonder who else in the pulpit is humping around. It is also a reminder, that like us commoners, even those of the cloth fall short of the glory.
3. Friends Don’t Out Friends on Twitter
Think before you tweet. Guy-on-guy video aside, I was actually more surprised that Lil Mo’, a “friend” of Terry’s, would take to her Twitter page to confirm the man in the video was in fact Terry before the singer had a chance to defend himself. Shortly after the video surfaced, Lil’ Mo took to her Twitter page and posted the following:
“It’s sad when u piss someone off the leak sex tapes and nudes. Even more sad when it’s a gospel artist that is my friend … No shade lowkey he diiiiiiid that. #nohands but the videographer dry snitched. Show ya face. Level the playing field. Hello.”
Maybe I missed the memo that said friends post tongue-in-cheek tweets about other friends under the guise of “no shade”. Or that joking about your gospel singer buddy’s homosexual head game post a sex tape leak is acceptable. Word to the wise Lil’ Mo, if you ever want to help a friend in need, try sending an encouraging text or prayerful tweet before confirming the rumor mill.
4. Honesty is Always the Best Policy
In the words of Iyanla Vanzant, let’s “call a thing a thing.” When you’re honest about who you are and what you’ve done, there are very few things that can hurt you. This is a homosexual man struggling with his sexuality while professing a gospel that condemns it. We’ve seen this story play out numerous times within the church. I pray he gets the help he needs to embrace who is, whoever that may be. Now given his career choice and platform, the decision to come out will be that much more difficult, but if true happiness is what Mr. Terry is looking for, step one is admission.
5. There is Life After a Sex Tape
So you had sex, we’ve seen it, and now life goes on. For many, life actually gets better. From endorsements and reality shows, to book deals and front page exclusives, having your most intimate moments paraded around the web for the world to see is not the end. The jeers from the judgment zone will eventually fade and all will return to normal for the gospel singer. While church folks, specifically black church folks, are known to be one of the most judgmental groups of people, they’re also one of the most forgiving. Worse has been done. Besides, if Eddie Long and Ted Haggard can return to the pulpit, I’m sure Kevin Terry can find his way back to the mic.