By Ryan Velez
Rock and roll legend Little Richard has been keeping a low profile the last few years (certainly deserved considering his years of hard work in the music business). But he recently decided to step back into the public eye. TV One reports that he has made his first television appearance in years, showing up on Southern Illinois’ Three Angels Broadcasting Network last month. Notably, his conservative dress for the interview was a far cry from the garb people are used to seeing him wearing over the years.
Of course, Little Richard’s years of musical influence and his extensive career came up in the chat with Danny Shelton, but one thing that people may not have expected to hear about is his love for God, something that he says has always been very clear. Little Richard has always had deep religious roots, with two uncles and a grandfather who were preachers. Little Richard would act as a “faith healer” in his youth, and the gospel music he grew up around would also be a massive influence on his own music. “I’ve always talked about Jesus. I’d be screaming and singing…I had a song I’d sing called In The Name,” he mentioned.
One interesting subject that came up regarding Little Richard and his faith was how he believed God loved everyone, with s*xual orientation having no bearing. “When I first come in show business they wanted you to look like everybody but yourself. And anybody that comes in show business they gone say you gay or straight…God made men, men and women, women. You’ve got to live the way God wants you to live…he can save you.” Little Richard’s flamboyant persona has led to speculation about his s*xuality most of his life. Different sources and even Richard himself have given conflicting statements regarding this for quite some time. As a note, he has been married once, to Ernestine Campbell in 1959. The two would divorce in 1963.
One of the last major public appearances Little Richard made was in 2015, appearing at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville to receive the Rhapsody & Rhythm Award from and raise funds for the National Museum of African American Music. The Museum would also issue a press release in 2016, saying that Little Richard attended the 3rd annual Celebration of Legends Luncheon in Nashville honoring Shirley Caesar, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff with Rhapsody & Rhythm Awards.