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‘I Want the Liberty to be My Full Self’: Erica Campbell Speaks on the Scrutiny and Pressure of Being a Curvy Gospel Singer  

Gospel singer Erica Campbell is unapologetically owning who she is, curves and all. 

Campbell, who is one-half of the gospel duo “Mary Mary,” has been on the receiving end of criticism for making music that some claim to be too secular, and for wearing clothing that challenges expectations of Christian modesty.

Erica Campbell Photo: Iamericacampbell/Instagram

The latter is an area Campbell knows all too well. “There is always pressure for any woman, especially in the public eye. I am a woman with curves that sings gospel,” she said. However, despite the scrutiny and comments of her sometimes form-fitting attire being considered scandalous, Campbell says not paying attention to this person’s words or that person’s words can make the difference in not disturbing her confidence and the autonomy she has over herself. 

“When you get to a certain level of life things get uncomfortable,” she continued in a May interview with Page Six. “You can’t say, ‘watch my show, support me on social media, buy my music, and then say, ‘but don’t bother me any other time.’ You do want your privacy at certain times. I want the liberty to be my full self.”

In 2013, the “You Are” singer was all but condemned by fans and critics who took issue with a form-fitting white dress used to promote her debut solo album “Help.” Individuals taking issue with the image, that shows Campbell completely covered sans her feet and hands, were harsh with their words in calling the singer a “hoe” and “harlot.”

While being interviewed for TV One’s “Uncensored,” Campbell said the backlash over that time was and still is a shock. She says not only did she love the way the image came out, but her husband and family were all approving of the outfit.

“When you get that kind of support from your family you go [motioning two thumbs up] we’re good. So the picture comes out — it was supposed to be the album cover but it ended up being the press release which went everywhere really fast — and well, somebody on Facebook did not like the white dress,” said Campbell. 

“So they did this whole thing about what I was trying to do and how it was so sexy and I’m like, ‘You ain’t never seen anybody in a fitted dress before? Like, come on.’ It was just so absurd and to this day I still don’t understand what all they fuss was over,” she added. “Yes I have curves. I’m a grown woman, I’m a grown married woman, and sexy is not a sin.”

Campbell also speaks to how the onslaught of criticism for her attire in one photo made it easy for critics to take aim at other areas of her life. “I was so hurt by being misunderstood. It was just really hurtful because they came for everything. They came for my faith, they came for my intentions, just everything,” she said in the hour-long episode that aired on April 17. 

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