Oklahoma Pastor Condemned for Wearing Blackface and Jheri Curl Wig, Claims He Was Honoring Ray Charles

Oklahoma Pastor Condemned for Wearing Blackface and Jheri Curl Wig, Claims He Was Honoring Ray Charles

A white man in Oklahoma is responding to extreme backlash after an unearthed video from several years ago revealed him in blackface. His reasoning is as outrageous as his appearance in blackface and a Jheri curl.

According to the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, a white Oklahoma pastor from Matoaka Baptist Church in Tulsa came under fire after he was exposed in a Facebook post showing him in blackface. The post shows Bartlesville pastor Sherman Jaquess performing an act in blackface during a Valentine’s Day event at his church in 2017.

A post by Tulsa resident Marq Lewis revealed the photos as he requested his followers share the post,  leading it to go viral with close to 4,000 shares.

“*****Share please****
“Here’s Pastor Sherman Jaquess in Black Face. He pastors at the Matoaka Baptist Church in Ochelata Oklahoma.”

Jaquess claims he’s no bigot—but that some of his friends are, well, “racial”:

“It wasn’t derogatory, wasn’t racial in any way, and we’re not racist at all. I don’t have a racist bone in my body. I have a lot of racial friends.”

Jaquess’ defense for appearing in an Afro, blackface and red, painted lips?

He claims he was honoring singing legend Ray Charles.

“We have people [who] are offended by a lot of things, but it’s hard to play Ray Charles if you don’t play a Black man; it wasn’t anything. It was honoring to Ray Charles, we sang the song as best as we could.”

Lewis, a Tulsa activist, said the pastor should have known better since everyone knows blackface is extremely offensive.

“You can honor anyone by not putting on blackface, and he is ignoring the historical references and all of the satirical types of caricatures that African Americans have gone through in this country,” Lewis said.

“For him to say that’s not racist says to me that he is completely out of touch with the reality of what this world and this country has dealt with — it’s actually a slap in the face of African Americans and all people of color.”

Jaquess is also catching heat for his sermons against the LGBTQIA+ community. Based on his Facebook feed posts, he has been critical of a local Pride event featuring a drag show at Unity Square. He also tells his congregation of the dangers of drag queens in many of his sermons that he posts on Facebook.

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