The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, has kicked a rural church out of its membership after photos and videos of an Oklahoma pastor impersonating singer Ray Charles in blackface ignited [outrage] on social media.
Rev. Sherman Jaquess, a White man, was seen in a video dressed in a Jheri curl wig, black body paint (face, neck, hands), and red lips during a Valentine’s Day talent show in 2017.
A spokesperson for the organization said the executive committee ruled that the Matoaka Baptist Church in Ochelata, Oklahoma, was “not in friendly cooperation” with the convention.
The decision came after the church, led by Jaquess, failed to “cooperate in resolving concerns regarding discriminatory behavior on the basis of ethnicity,” according to CNN.
The preacher comically claims he was trying to honor the late Grammy Award winner.
The incident was highlighted on Facebook in April by local activist Marq Lewis, who promptly rebutted, “You can’t honor anyone by not putting on blackface, and he is ignoring the historical references and all of the satirical types of caricatures that African Americans have gone through in this country.”
Lewis furthered his actions were “actually a slap in the face of African Americans and all people of color.”
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