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‘How Many Times You Changed the Name on Your Light Bill’’: Steve Harvey Defends Gospel Singer Kim Burrell After She Calls Out ‘Broke’ and ‘Ugly’ People

Legendary gospel singer Kim Burrell has been in the hot seat after calling churchgoers “broke” and “ugly” during a viral sermon. Clips of Burrell on stage at the Kingdom City Church, where she was invited to speak, began going viral online on Monday, July 18.

Many felt Burrell’s remarks were tasteless and unnecessary, including blasting people who have financial issues and those who “live in a trailer” as opposed to a house. She made other jokes about COVID-19, PPP loans, and other harsh remarks.

Steve Harvey (L) and Kim Burrell (R). Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images, Prince Williams/WireImage

Due to the backlash, comedian Steve Harvey spoke up in her defense on a pre-recorded episode of his morning radio show that aired days later on Thursday, July 21. He described Burrell’s remarks as her “attempt at humor,” adding that “church folk can be the most sensitive people.”

He continued, “They not mad about the money issue. They wasn’t mad about the vaccine or the mask. They wasn’t mad about the PPP loans. They was mad because she said you got to choose up. Because when you tell a poor person you want to choose up, they think you’re talking about them.

At the time, Burrell had only issued one public apology, but Harvey said “She shouldn’t have,”

“I don’t like broke a– friends. I’m not apologizing. I’m supporting Kim Burrell,” the talk show host declared. “Got no time for that. Get a bunch of broke a– and see if your a– don’t end up broke. Chose up.”

In Burrell’s viral video, she called out crowd members for living different lifestyles, telling them to “chose up” and “find some value.”

“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?” said the “Holy Ghost” singer while laughing in the clip. “You understand. It’s not about status or material things. It’s just about choices.”

The 49-year-old drew even more criticism for seemingly advising folks against COVID-19 vaccines, stating, “We’re at church… those of us are walking by faith without a mask and no vaccine.” She made other remarks such as “I’m not as expensive as I seem,” in regards to other churches who may want to book her for appearances. 

“I don’t know, maybe you got a little left from your PPP loan. Prayer, Praise, and Power, you understand. Amen,” she added. The viral clip cuts to another moment where Burrell suggests that some of the attendees were “ugly.”

She said, “All of you are beautiful. I haven’t chosen anyone to be ugly yet. God is good. God is great,” Burrell said. “You all look great. Most of you have on hats covering most of that anyway. Here’s to you.”

Fans did not buy Burrell’s initial apology, where she called herself a “kingdom citizen and a woman of integrity.” She concluded with the statement, stating, “Again, I will apologize if anyone thought that my humor was malicious, but I will not under any circumstances tolerate harassment, slander, or for my character to be defamed.”

The written apology statement has since been deleted from Burrell’s Instagram page. She appeared on camera in her second apology while disputing the information she received from “an attorney” two days ago. She said she never intended to hurt anyone, stating, “I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. I love you, wait and see. I do.”

But this is not the first time Burrell has caught backlash for her harsh comments. After a resurfaced clip of her making comments about “perverted” homosexuality in another sermon, as previously reported in 2017. Subsequently, her Texas Southern University radio show, “Bridging the Gap,” was canceled in addition to an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

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