“I refuse to choose sides. I live for an audience of one.”
Gospel legend CeCe Winans found herself in a fiery furnace over the weekend, when news of her having allegedly participated in President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign circulated on several mainstream and social media sites.
I have had a couple of occasions to speak with Winans, and I’ve not known her to shy away from a question — or a controversy. For the most part, she didn’t disappoint Tuesday afternoon, as she sat down with Dr. A.R. Bernard to clear the air and answer queries from fans and critics.
During the 30 minute Instagram Live conversation, Winans distanced herself from Trump’s camp, while stopping just short of telling fans who she’d be voting for this fall. She became quite animated when addressing direct questions about her personal political affiliations.
“I refuse to choose sides,” Winans earnestly said. “I live for an audience of one. It’s not religion for me. It’s a relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m a believer who happens to be black, who happens to be a woman. I stand for truth, only truth, and nothing else.”
“I’ve been honored to be able to go in and sing the gospel and to stand before a lot of incredible dignitaries,” Winans continued, remembering performances for both President Bushes and for Bill and Hillary Clinton during her 35+ year career.
“I was able to meet President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama when I sang at the Kennedy Center. I sang for the Pope, quite a few years ago.”
“Jesus loves everybody, and He’s needed everywhere.”
That last nugget was characteristically spoken like a,…well, like a gospel legend! But let’s get down to brass tacks, as Grandma Coleman used to say. Dr. Bernard asked Winans the question we all wanted to ask her:
Do you, CeCe Winans, support President Donald J. Trump?
“No, no, absolutely not,” Winans asserted. “He is our president, and the bible tells us to honor and pray for those in leadership. That’s what I’m supposed to do, but it doesn’t tell me I’m supposed to support him.”
Now, another question:
Are you, CeCe Winans, planning to vote for President Donald J. Trump?
“It’s nobody’s business who I’m voting for,” Winans said. “I’m going to vote for the person who’s best for the job. I want to encourage everybody to vote. We can complain, or we can show up and vote. If we want change, we have to be a part of the change. I feel like we need change.”
It was among the most deft deflections I’ve ever heard. While falling short of the Biden endorsement that so many of her fans wanted to hear, Winans’s talk of “needed change” said it all for this writer.
Winans detailed the invitation she received to participate in a COVID-19 PSA, and her subsequent Zoom interview with Surgeon General Jerome Adams. She admitted to having been, perhaps, a little naive about the intentions behind the request, at one point referring to herself as “a casualty of war.”
“This COVID-19 has taken several lives, and has touched my family,” Winans said. “I thought a chance to sit down with the surgeon general and get solid information was a win-win situation. That was my whole reason for saying ‘yes’. I was not suspect. I thought it was an honor.”
“There was nothing political about it, “ Winans said of the interview. “President Trump’s name didn’t come up. In fact, [Dr. Adams] said we needed to stop polarizing things and take names out of the equation.”
Winans also corrected several media reports that she had been financially compensated for her participation in the PSA, insisting that she was not.
Over the weekend, it was reported that the PSA, which also allegedly featured actor Dennis Quaid, was being scheduled to air just prior to the November 3 presidential election. Due to the dust up over it, Winans said the “great conversation” she and Dr. Adams had about COVID-19 may never be seen or heard.
“We discussed several important questions,” Winans recalled, “about why we should wear masks, what happens when a family member gets sick, how to form a bubble, and whether we should take the vaccine, especially when it’s being developed so quickly.”
“But it’s been pulled,” the singer said of the PSA.
To speak with her fans on Instagram, Winans took a brief break in planning her first-ever live album, scheduled to be recorded this fall. She’s also just released a new single, the buoyant “Never Lost” — which she said is ministering to her in unexpected ways!
“Thank GOD I’m singing that right now,” Winans heartily laughed. “No matter what type of battle you find yourself in, our God is never lost. He’s undefeated!”
“This song is a perfect message for what we’re going through as a nation and around the world,” Winans continued. “So many people are literally fighting for their lives. ‘Never Lost’ will give them the courage to keep going [and] the faith to look up and know that He’s still there.”
“I knew the climate was bad,” Winans said. “You can’t be alive in this country and not know that. We’ve gone through a lot. Even before COVID, with the racism and the young black lives we have lost in this country. It’s rough right now.”
“[But this controversy has] changed the way I look at things,” Winans admitted. “I’m educated now!”
You heard it from the lady herself. CeCe Winans is WOKE!