Monday, June 20, 2005

Gospel Singer: God on Michael Jackson's Side

Gospel Singer: God's on Michael Jackson's Side

In an e-mail blitz, Kurt Carr says God "protected" the accused child molester from a conviction and a jail sentence, claiming that "God blocked it"—which is also the title of Carr's latest hit single.

Claiming that God was on Michael Jackson's "side" and "protected" him from a conviction on child molestation charges, a prominent gospel artist says, "God obviously has a work for Michael Jackson to do."

Carr says God "truly blocked" jail time for Jackson Kurt Carr, whose latest album, One Church, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard gospel chart in March, made the comments in a prepared e-mail statement released through his publicist on June 16, two days after the Jackson verdict in which a California jury found him not guilty on all 10 counts against him.

In the same e-mail statement, which went to about 120,000 Black Gospel Promo subscribers, Carr went on to pitch his recent hit song, "God Blocked It," saying that God "truly blocked the 20 years of prison that Michael faced, and the mercy of God was on his side."

Carr appeared to be capitalizing on the verdict to promote his merchandise, ending the e-mail with this sentence: "Below are the words and the link to listen and buy" the song, songbook and CD. The e-mail also included a link to JET magazine, which featured Carr in its June 20 issue.

The lyrics to "God Blocked It" include the following lines: "There were dangers awaiting me / Destruction was sure to be / But thank God for angels that were … looking out for me." And: "The devil had a plan to kill me I know / But God intercepted his plan and told the devil, No! / God blocked it! God blocked it! / He wouldn't let it be so."

Carr defended his statements in the e-mail blitz in an interview with Christian Music Today.
"I was saying how the song really applies to [Jackson]," Carr said. "I'm not judging whether he's innocent or guilty. [But] I believe that God is sovereign, and if [Jackson] is meant to go to jail, he would've gone to jail."

Carr went on to explain that he simply hopes Jackson will wisely use his time for good things: "The point that I wanted to make … is that I believe that God has work for [Jackson] to do. There is no one on this earth [who] is as big a humanitarian than he is with world peace and hope. … And basically what I'm saying is, 'OK, bro, you're free, and I pray now that you would use this gift—the gift of freedom—to move people with godly principles."

Carr insisted he wasn't trying to capitalize on the Jackson verdict.

"I don't need a gimmick to be successful," he said. "I don't need a gimmick to get my songs played. It's one of the biggest songs of the year. It's one of the biggest songs I believe I'm ever going to have. I don't need a gimmick to promote the gospel."

Carr had performed "God Blocked It" on June 14—the same day as the Jackson verdict—at the Bobby Jones International Gospel Industry Retreat in Florida, said his publicist, Veda Brown. When the verdict was announced, the buzz among several choir members was that the song applied to Jackson.

Brown, president and CEO of Black Gospel Promo, which circulated last week's e-mail, asked Carr how he would relate the verdict to the song. When she published his comments, she added the links to purchase information for Carr's products.

Neither Carr nor Brown thought Carr's statement was controversial.

Brown said she saw Carr's statement as "more of a ministry of encouragement" in reference to the news of the week. She said she has received positive responses to the e-mail, which went to a list of Black Gospel Promo subscribers that include media, distributors, retailers and consumers interested in gospel music.

On June 14, a California jury returned a not guilty verdict on 10 counts against Jackson including child molestation, conspiracy and alcohol charges. Jackson faced 20 years in prison if convicted.

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