Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Monday, August 28, 2017

June 24 - Rev. James Cleveland: Gospel Legend

 Most fans of gospel music are familiar with this legendary recording artist.  He earned four Grammy awards for his music and he would become the first gospel artist to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was the incomparable James Cleveland.

Reading his Wikipedia page you would never know that James Cleveland was a gay man.  Until you get to the final passage on the page which briefly speaks of an individual that sued the estate of Cleveland claiming that he was sexually molested by the man and became HIVpositive because of these actions.

Growing up in the South and growing up in the choir, I heard numerous stories about Cleveland. When I went off to college I continued to sing and would eventually start to attend the National Baptist convention of America.  I swear to you it was like a black gay pride.  Most of the men at the convention were gay men and all of us would praise God through song during the day and rush off to the clubs at night.  Oh Happy Day!

I heard numerous stories from various men about their escapades with James Cleveland. I'm not going to fault Cleveland for his downlow behaviour or these young men for hooking up with someone they considered a hero to them.  It was simply the way things were.  If you were active in the church you were not allowed to be honest and live and out and proud life.  It was required that you put on a facade.  You were not allowed to live your life authentically.

So although he may not have been an "out" gay man.  I feel very comfortable in including him on this list.

My favorite song by James Cleveland was and still is "Peace Be Still." Please check it out below.

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