||Kim Burrell breaks her silence: Singer talks brother's
death and why she ‘would never apologize for preaching
||Article By Rebecca Johnson // News
||Posted February 24, 2017
||For those who think Pastor Kim Burrell has been hiding out in fear and shame after a sermon
snippet of her condemning homosexuality went viral and sparked major backlash, think again.
Despite being dragged through the mud, in a newly published interview, the award-winning
gospel-jazz vocalist, who has kept a low profile since Dec. 30th of last year, is bold as ever, and
is letting it be known, “I would never apologize for preaching against sin—never.”
Burrell gave her first exclusive interview with Jerri P. Beasley on the “Keep the Morning Moving
Morning Show,” where she talked about the recent controversy, the death of her brother, and
what’s going on in her life now.
“I need the people to know, don’t ever expect an apology from me,” said the 44-year-old, whose
sermon called gay people “perverted” and prophesied certain death this year on leaders that
hypocritically proclaim the gospel while living a homosexual lifestyle.
The exclusive post-controversy interview, which was recorded Saturday, Feb. 18, the day before
a tribute concert to Burrell’s late brother, Kevin Jordan, who died of complications from a massive
stroke on Feb. 6, solidified the singer’s position on the matter once and for all.
“I have to please God,” the global artist said. Even though she is cast as hateful, bigoted and
mean-spirited by mainstream media, she says doing God’s will is her only focus. “In all my ways, I
have to acknowledge Him and He’ll direct my path, just as everybody else,” she said.
It has unquestionably been a rough ride for the pastor of the Houston-based Love and Liberty
Fellowship Church, whose home was swarmed by media in the initial days following the uprising.
“I have not interviewed. CNN has called me. Every outlet you can name—every outlet. Think of
any of them in the world. They have called me since Dec. 30th. They’ve been outside my house
with cameras pulled. They have been on top of my house with helicopters,” she said.
At one point, Burrell shared that her close friend Stevie Wonder, who has been a comfort to her
in the wake of her brother’s death, flew her out to Los Angeles so she could gain refuge from the
media’s relentless assault.
ON LOSING KEVIN
Burrell’s brother Kevin Jordan named her. They were very close, which is why his death at age
50 was a difficult blow. Though some reported that he died instantly after collapsing at work, the
process played out much differently.
“I watched my brother. I looked at him while he was having a stroke January 20th at 3:30 in the
morning and I walked into the Emergency Room while he was having the stroke, and I’d never
seen that with anyone, never experienced that, never saw an example of it on TV, Facebook,
nothing,” said Burrell, recounting the painful events leading to her sibling’s ultimate demise.
It was almost too much to watch her brother, a well-loved, talented musician waste away. Burrell,
who just lost her 70-year-old mother Helen Spears to cancer in Dec. 1, 2013, said she asked
God to allow her to go through the illness in Kevin’s stead.
“There is nothing I would not have done in that moment to switch places,” said the distraught
sister who is all too familiar with loss. The death of her older brother Julius Lynn Burrell also
came in July 29, 2013, five months before the high-profile musician’s mother would succumb.
Burrell said she told God, “I don’t care about the name, the fame. I couldn’t care less. I said,
‘God, you’ll take care of my son. He’ll understand it. Please put me there.’”
For a short time after the stroke, despite the right side of Kevin’s brain being severely damaged,
the signs looked promising for him. “Kevin had a slight slur. He had the faculties of both arms and
he was moving both legs,” Burrell recounted. “The boy started praising God.”
He was crying, lifting his hands and saying, “I don’t know why I’m so emotional.” It seemed that
the man to whom Burrell was extremely close, had come through the worst and would be alright.
But that wasn’t the case.
Burrell, who grew up in the Church of God In Christ (COGIC), was taught to have strong faith and
believed God until the end.
“My brother’s last words to me in life were, he says, ‘Baby girl, much success,’” remembered Kim,
though she didn’t know at the time that would be the last time she heard his voice.
She had to fly out of town for a meeting and when she landed, the busy entrepreneur received a
phone call from her sister, notifying her that Kevin’s condition had taken a turn for the worst.
“The stroke extended itself and it silenced him,” Burrell learned.
When she hurriedly returned to the hospital following her important trip, Burrell’s brother was
sedated and on a ventilator. Eventually, all of his organs shut down and there was too much
damage to his brain for it to ever function properly again.
On February 6th at 3:45 PM, a little more than two weeks after his stroke, Kevin took his last
breath, which was hard for his big sister to accept.
“I asked him, I said, ‘Kevin, this is me’—after he passed away. ‘How could you leave what we
have? I’m your baby sister. Our closeness, our life together. You named me. All of our life’s
history, us, this [is] me and you,” she said, devastated.
“God let me hear his spirit. He said, ‘There’s no way Kim I would have left you if I didn’t have
somewhere better to go,’” Burrell shared.
After hearing those words, she said, “I laid down and finally went to sleep.”
A PAINFUL SECRET
Before Kevin passed, as he laid sedated, Burrell discovered a secret he didn’t want her to know:
He was fired from his position at a church over his sister’s controversy-stirring comments on
The fiery teacher, whose prophetic words featured in the viral video upset many, read Kevin’s
text messages to friends saying, “I never want my sister to know that they fired me because of
her message, but I’m good. God’s got me.”
According to Burrell, “That hurt me when I read that… They fired him from a church for being my
brother, from the message that got out to the world. It broke my heart.”
But amid all the darkness, there was bright light, a sort of silver lining in the dark, thick clouds
As Burrell was on her way to the funeral home to view her brother’s body, she received text
messages from two industry friends: Israel Houghton and Earnest Walker. They were
congratulating the Founder of the Ephesians 4 Conference on winning the “Outstanding Song”
NAACP Image Award for her collaboration with Pharrell Williams on “I See A Victory” from the
Hidden Figures soundtrack.
At the time, she was unaware that she was nominated. “I’m so grateful. Out of everything, out of
any award, I won an Image Award,” she said, which lifted her spirits.
“Some people may ask, ‘Do you have any regrets?’ Absolutely not. ‘Are you regretful that the
tape got out?’ Absolutely not, because I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the
power of God unto salvation. It is the map. It is the constitution of the believer,” said the Stellar
She continued, “The Bible says in the last days that men would be more lovers of themselves
than lovers of God, so I am so not appalled. I’m not thrown off. I’m not hurt and running into a
corner to hide.”
During this turbulent time, Burrell said she has been relying on 1 Peter 4:12 as her guide:
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some
strange thing happened to you.”
The Bible-reliant, unapologetic teacher of God’s word told her listening and streaming audience,
“What the people don’t know that I’ll expose right now is when Channel 11 and 13 were flying
over my house and coming to my front door with cameras, I was standing behind the wall
laughing because my daddy was at the door saying, ‘She’s not taking any interviews.’ I cracked
“I was sitting on the floor, kicking my legs, [saying] this is a mess. It was funny to me because,
come on, I’ve been out here for years, been on TV. TV doesn’t excite me. It wasn’t about that.
The whole idea [of] how mad the devil got was tripping me out.”
Burrell believes the source of all the backlash is Satan and his anger over her speaking against
sin. She said, “I’m not fighting against critics. I’m not fighting against people who go under any
title in the world to identify themselves. I’m fighting against a spiritual war, the spiritual wickedness
in high places. We all are. It’s not just me. We’re in a fight.
“Those who are called and chosen of God, we have the principality fight. And when principalities
are fighting you, that’s when you are contending for the faith. You’re in the ring for the faith. You
are fighting for the faith. You’re not fighting for you. You’re not fighting for your name. You’re not
fighting for your popularity. You’re fighting for the faith—the belief in the Lord Jesus Christ who is
your savior. And that’s the fight you’re in, to tell the world, I don’t care what you do to me.”
While some will inevitably view the leader as hateful forever, Burrell said, “I love everyone,” and
yet, she will continue to preach against what the Bible calls sin.
But preaching isn’t the only thing Burrell is up to these days. She had some more news to share.
“You guys must know I’m writing a book. Are you kidding? Of course, I’m writing a book from all of
this,” she said.
Furthermore, the typically booked songbird believes the cancellations and firing from her
television and radio show worked in her favor, and served a greater purpose: to free up her
schedule to pen her book and more.
“God made me still so I can do all of this because there’s a lesson to be learned. There’s a story
to be told,” she said.