Little Richard’s place of privilege in the world of pop music is undeniable. Having greatly influenced several genres, including rock, funk, and hip-hop, his icon status is firmly cemented in history. Having been open about his homosexuality for decades, Little Richard is also revered by the LGBTQ community as a gay icon. Which means that his recent revelation that he now renounces homosexuality isn’t going to go over well in the LGBTQ community.
Referencing an interview Little Richard gave to Three Angels Broadcasting Network, Charisma News reports that “Little Richard is renouncing his past life of sexual immorality, saying he believes same-sex relationships are ‘unnatural affections.'”
As a child, Little Richard was fascinated with girls’ clothing and toys, suffering the wrath of his father for it. Throughout his teen years, Little Richard had sex with both males and females. By the time he was a star, Little Richard reveled in and marketed his sexuality. In an interview with Penthouse in the mid-’80s, he claimed that he’s always known that he’s gay.
According to the most recent interview, though, Little Richard says he has repented and turned to Jesus Christ for salvation.
“When I first came in show business, they wanted you to look like everybody but yourself,” he said. “And anybody [who] comes in show business, they gonna say you gay or straight. God made men, men and women, women. You’ve got to live the way God wants you to live.” The 84-year-old singer added, “He can save you.”
The singer admits he gave in to temptations during his years in the entertainment industry. “You know, all these things. So much unnatural affection,” Little Richard told the network. “So much of people just doing everything and don’t think about God. Don’t want no parts of Him. I was talking to Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine, and she said she believed in the Resurrection. I said I believed in the Resurrection too. But I believe you’ve got to live right now in Jesus. He’s a real Savior and the Prince of Life,” he explained.
“Regardless of whatever you are, He loves you. I don’t care what you are. He loves you and He can save you. All you’ve got to do is say, ‘Lord, take me as I am. I’m a sinner.’ But we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The only holy, righteous person is Jesus and He wants us to be just like Him because, in order to go to Heaven, we’ve got to look like Him,” Richard continued.
Considering that Little Richard has renounced homosexuality and the “rock and roll lifestyle” multiple times over the course of his career, it’s hard to know whether to take him seriously or not. The first time he repented of his lifestyle was in 1957. At the time, he believed that God wanted him to stop making secular music and begin making gospel music instead. It was during that period that he married Ernestine Campbell, a marriage that failed because of Little Richard’s homosexuality. His first “conversion” lasted until 1962.
I do want to be careful (and clear). I pray that Little Richard has truly repented of his sin and placed his faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. I pray that he has truly renounced homosexuality and is now seeking to honor and obey God in all areas of his life, including his sexuality. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t the first time that Little Richard has said any of this. Christians are called to “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Sadly, in our joy at hearing of the repentance of a sinner, Christians are often too quick to promote men and women who have not been tried by the Holy Spirit and proven faithful. While we should be praying that this news is true, we should also be careful about holding a man like Little Richard up to be celebrated and emulated.