*An Oklahoma preacher has responded to the backlash over him wearing blackface that has sparked viral outrage.
The image of Pastor Sherman Jaquess of Matoaka Baptist Church in Ochelata, Okla. first appeared on Facebook on Feb. 10, 2017, and recently re-emerged online, Fox 23 News. Pastor Jaquess typically posts videos of his sermons on the church’s Facebook page. He addressed his controversial blackface performance in an April 19 sermon.
“I just want to publicly say I don’t have a racial bone in my body. I’m not racist at all,” said Jaquess. “There wasnt anything racial about it. I was singing Ray Charles, Seven Spanish Angels and I said, ‘I love Ray Charles music. How can you portray Ray Charles if you’re not a black man?”
Jaquess — who has reportedly preached against drag queens — also caught heat over a post of him dressed up as a Native American woman, according to Fox 23 News. The pastor said he doesn’t consider this drag queen behavior.
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“One night we had cowboys and Indian night. I dressed up like a Sq&*%. I had a full Indian-looking dress on. I had a wig braided. That wasn’t a drag queen performance that was a theme night at falls creek and I was fully clothed and I did nothing sexual or lewd. That was a theme night at Falls Creek,” said Jaquess.
Several LQBTQIA+ organizations have reportedly slammed the pastor’s homophobia and racism.
Rural Oklahoma Pride released a statement in response to the photos.
“We at Rural Oklahoma Pride have viewed the images in the incident of what occurred at the Matoaka Baptist Church and are unable to comprehend the level of suffering and anger that Pastor Sherman Jaquess has caused the people of Bartlesville, Oklahoma,” the statement reads, per Fox 23 News.
“We believe that this pastor should be directing and leading acceptable, respectful, and appropriate activities for his congregation to partake in, not activities that are discriminatory. We have seen racism and intolerance against people of different ethnic backgrounds.”
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