Le’Andria Johnson’s Vent and the Court of Church Politics

The stories of the Gospel are not for the faint of heart. The glory praised at the end of any trying story is sometimes not the same energy experienced while reading it. Leandria Johnson’s story is one that has been difficult to tell and complex to read. Recently, the singer and Pastor recorded a live video on social media where she vented rampantly about what she sees as spiritual and social misgivings. The target of Leandria’s rant was the church and in a follow-up video she clarified that it was specifically the politics of the church. To some, evidenced by social media responses, it was clear in the initial video that it was always the politics.

Leandria also called out Pastor and singer Marvin Winans and used an expletive in her description of the church. She lamented that: “The church is the only place you can go and get robbed and nobody call[s] the police”. Leandria was later removed as a performer during last week’s Essence festival. As she was slated to sing in a tribute to Dottie Peoples, the Essence Festival decided to exclude her from the gospel performance. As Leandria resigned this as a result of her freedom of speech, ironically she called it before it happened saying: “Essence Festival is a couple of days away and if y’all feel like y’all don’t want me on it, y’all don’t want me on it.”

As raw, un-earthing and unnerving as Leandria’s famous online rants have been to some, she lives in the ethos of “come as you are”. Although some may oppose exactly how she is, she continuously expresses that she will continue to be as wants. Leandria’s creative peers responded by reaching out to her via social media. From Erica Campbell (who Leandria quickly mentioned by name in her video) to Ledisi, Delra Harris, LeLee of SWV, and Leela James sent words of encouragement.

With any grievance, it would behoove anyone genuinely concerned with the issues the aggrieved laid out to explore or address them. The church hurt and industry problems Leandria stated as her experience is not hers alone as some of her sentiments are shared. As both criticism and support for Leandria has been seen, there are few instances where anyone refutes her specific claims and perspective, only honing in on her personal responsibility as a Christian. It is a wonder if the court can try Leandria’s grievances as much as her presentation of them.