An Oklahoma church was officially expelled from the Southern Baptist Convention on Tuesday after videos and photos emerged of the pastor in blackface, as well as an incident in which he impersonated a Native American woman. The pastor, Sherman Jaquess, impersonated soul legend Ray Charles at a 2017 church Valentine’s Day event, with video of the performance flagged earlier this year by a community activist. Another photo of Jaquess obtained by the Examiner-Enterprise of Bartlesville shows him dressed as a Native American woman at a “Cowboys and Indians” night at a church camp. According to the Associated Press, Matoaka Baptist Church of Ochelata was ousted by the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, and “deemed not in friendly cooperation with the convention.” According to the Associated Press, Jacquess claimed he’s part Cherokee and said his performances were not meant to be racist. “If it had been done in a derogatory or hateful manner, that would be one thing, but the church was full of people. Nobody took it as a racial slur,” he said, adding the old posts were only discovered after he spoke out about local drag shows.
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