In a decidedly butched-up turn, the frequently flamboyant rock and roll pioneer Little Richard gave new insight on his ever-evolving views of sexuality in an interview with the Christian-themed Three Angles Broadcasting Network last month. As spotted by Ebony, the 84-year-old Richard said:
“You know, it’s just like everybody’s turning one way or the other...When I first came in show business, they wanted you to look like anybody but yourself. And anybody come in show business, they’re going to say you’re gay. Are you straight? Are you a homosexual, something? They’re going to say it. But God, Jesus made men, men. He made women, women, you know? And you’ve got to live the way God wants you to live.
“But see, he made you that and he loves all of us. Regardless of whatever you are, he loves you. I don’t care what you are. He loves you and He can save you and He will save you and He can help you and He will help you. He will help you...And God knows I want to be saved.”
That clip’s above. Ebony reports that Little Richard also denounced “unnatural affections” in the sprawling God-themed interview (the entire broadcast runs about two hours).
This is notable because Little Richard has talked at length about his sexuality many times throughout the years (his Wikipedia entry devotes three paragraphs to his sexual orientation). GQ reported that he labeled himself “gay” in an interview with Penthouse in 1995:
“I’ve been gay all my life and I know God is a God of love, not of hate...How can I [put] down the fisherman when I’ve been fishing all my life?”
That same GQ piece quotes Charles White (aka Dr. Rock), who wrote Little Richard’s authorized biography, The Life and Times of Little Richard:
“‘Richard, I have to ask about your sex life.’ He said: ‘Well, Dr Rock, we are all both male and female. Sex to me is like a smorgasbord. Whatever I feel like, I go for.’ By this time, people are eavesdropping. The more outrageous he gets, the further they lean over the balcony. He says, ‘What kind of sexual am I? I am omnisexual!’ Actually his sexuality was the last thing I was interested in. I didn’t do the book for money or fame. I did it because Little Richard is such a uniquely great artist.”
Little Richard has talked about affairs with women. To Jet in 2000, he said:
“I had girlfriends. I had a stack of women who followed me and traveled with me, stayed with me and slept with me. I figured if being called a sissy would make me famous, let them say what they want to.”
If this most recent comment on his sexuality to 3ABN is a renouncing of his previously declared sexuality, well, surely it’s easier to do that at 84 than it ever was.
The full 3ABN interview is below: