My years of coerced church attendance have taught me that it’s impolite to question a man of God, but since the man in question is Jamal Bryant, do you think the Lord will give me a bit of leeway here?
I find it quite comical that Bryant, who now serves as senior pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta over the weekend, even bothered to now and try to disassociate himself from Kanye West after already hosting him and his Sunday Service at his invitation. As Complex recently reported, though, last weekend, Bryant explained to his congregation why he finds so much fault with West. Apparently, Bryant began his remarks by first reminding churchgoers that he still thinks the music slaps.
“Kanye West is a gifted lyricist,” Bryant claimed. “My problem is in between the songs. It ain’t on the album. The album is hot, it’s good. It’s in between the songs. I can’t rest with Kanye saying that slavery was an option.”
West offered that idiotic comment about slavery in May 2018. West brought Sunday Service to Bryant’s church at Bryant’s invitation in September 2019. Bryant says he can’t rest with West’s assertion that slavery was an option, but was he asleep when he decided to the slavery denier and his singing friends into his church? Why didn’t the good reverend wake his ass up when West was on the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church grounds?
Still, Bryant continued to pump his chest, pretending to be bothered about West’s political opinions as if they have been a riddle no one could unravel until last weekend. And he now blames West for Donald Trump’s recent visit to Atlanta — you know, as part of that fake effort to appeal to the voters he usually refers to as “The Blacks” or just people never to rent to.”
“It’s in between the songs that he says Black people should vote Republican because that’s the group that kept us free,” Bryant explained. “I can’t rest in between the songs when Kanye would endorse Donald Trump who has never done a thing for Black people, but say this is the way that is going to give us resources. It’s in between the songs that he endorsed him, and because he endorsed him, Donald Trump thought that he was going to come into Atlanta, Georgia and nobody was going to check him.”
Bryant then blabbered more about West — at one point criticizing him for going to went to Salt Lake City declaring to “a crowd of 98 percent white people that he is proud of standing with Donald Trump and is not going to be bullied by anybody.”
If you find any of this convincing, I invite you to pray for a higher volume of discernment. Bryant is many things, but unaware is not one of them. He knew exactly who West was when he allowed him into his space. One imagines he didn’t expect the level of criticism West’s appearance might have garnered.
As Bryant himself highlighted, these days, West’s name is largely praised by the white fans he evidently has long coveted most. No, Bryant is an attention whore who just so happens to be somewhat image-conscious. To wit, in October, Bryant redirected West’s church donation to two area Black colleges.
Bryant may want to act high and mighty about West, but while he may not be a supporter of Donald Trump, he trafficks in prejudice nearly as much as that big bag of stupid live-tweeting Fox News every damn day.
After all, this is the same person who infamously quoted Chris Brown in a sermon. Unfortunately, it was not a reimagining of his oldest hits like “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)” or “Run It.”
Instead, in 2014, Jamal Bryant was speaking on Pontius Pilate’s refusal to listen to his wife’s pleadings on Jesus’ behalf and told parishioners: “Every sister, elbow another sister, and say, ‘He should have listened.’ Every brother, tap another brother, and say, ‘I should have listened to her.’” Then he went on to declare, “Old saints, y’all forgive me, but I gotta tell you, These hoes ain’t loyal!”
And in 2012, Bryant had this to say about queer people: “We’ve got gay people in the pulpit, in the music department, in the dance ministry… but that doesn’t mean we stop preaching the gospel. We also got fornicators, also got gamblers, also got drug addicts, but you don’t see us doing a support group for them. Our responsibility is to make you uncomfortable in your sin. Homosexuality is not the only sin, but it is a sin. It is not an alternative lifestyle. It is an alternative rebellion.”
In this same sermon, he mirrored Kanye and Trump in their disdain of then-President Obama: “I’m scared of all these civil rights leaders and all these preachers kissing up to the president just because he’s Black. He’s Black and wrong. He’s Black and out of order.”
His issue with Obama was based on his belief that Obama’s support for marriage equality was “politically expedient” and denounced him in addition other Black preachers who followed suit.
In short, Bryant is a homophobe and misogynist who, like many straight Black men, seem to think their aversion to Donald Trump makes them better than the likes of West. However, while Bryant may not cower to the aspiring Führer, he, like Kanye, is a useless Black conservative. Someone who pretends to be of God and for justice, but once you look more intimately, see that they are nothing more than just a straight Black man who wants the perks and privileges typically afforded to white men. If they were of God and for Black people, they would advocate for all Black people rather than condemn.
Bryant may not share West’s love of Donald Trump, but neither of them are for all of us, and until that changes, they can both take a hike.