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13 comments | Wednesday, March 19, 2008



Gospel singer and three- time Stellar Award winner DeWayne Woods is not your ordinary gospel artist. He has used his music and his life as an instrument to spread God’s message of hope, salvation, healing, and redemption. This alone doesn’t set DeWayne Woods apart from the pack, but his innate ability to be transparent about his own personal struggles in public certainly does and is one of the many reasons his fans and critics alike are drawn to his music and his testimony.

While DeWayne’s music has been well received in Christian circles from his time with Donald Lawrence and The Tri-City Singers to his debut solo effort “Introducing DeWayne Woods & When Singers Meet”, it’s his personal testimony of being diagnosed with HIV in 1992 and being miraculously healed shortly thereafter that has been the topic of conversation around water coolers and black churches across America.

This bold assertion in the face of 26 years of the deadliest epidemic ever to hit American soil is all at once a hallelujah moment and a springboard for skepticism for those who have witnessed DeWayne give his testimony live or who may have heard it from others.

During Donald Lawrence and The Tri-City Singer’s farewell concert DeWayne courageously disclosed to a packed theater that he was infected with HIV in the early nineties and suffered greatly from the disease as well as from side effects from anti-retroviral drugs, until he decided to “Let Go” and let God have control.

“I decided that if I was going to preach about God being a healer then I wanted him to do it”, said Dewayne.

As Christians we believe God can heal any disease or affliction. The spiritual side of us wants to accept every word of DeWayne’s testimony, but the human side has not forgotten the millions of lives lost to HIV/AIDS.

So that leads me to my first question. What makes DeWayne Woods so special?

This question is in no way meant to be harsh although it may be perceived as such. But when you tell the world you’ve been cured of an incurable disease and there are still millions of people who are living with HIV then you should be prepared to tell the how, when, and where your miracle occurred and not just a sound bite to encourage the church to say “Amen”.

People who probably wouldn’t ordinarily visit a site like mine find themselves logging on daily after a google search on DeWayne Woods. Here’s just a sample of what they’re searching for:

1) DeWayne Woods healed from HIV

2) Is DeWayne Woods married?

3) DeWayne Woods gay

4) How did DeWayne Woods get HIV?

5) Does DeWayne Woods have AIDS?

These are all very valid questions for a gospel star that’s chosen to disclose his struggle with a disease that is still taboo in the black church and the black community. For the record I was scheduled to interview DeWayne Woods and even asked my readers to submit questions for our interview and after weeks of e-mails with his publicist Andrea R. Williams of Tehillah Entertainment and submitting my questions (something I never do) I was denied the interview only hours before it was scheduled to take place.

I have to commend DeWayne Woods for having the courage to stand before a black audience and admit he’s lived (living?) with HIV. Those three words are enough to spark gossip amongst Christian folk and bring shame on a black family for years. How many of us have gone to funerals of loved ones who have passed away from AIDS and the family has changed the cause of death to cancer? A friend of mine who has lived with HIV for over 8 years always says, “you’ll hear people say pray for me church I have cancer or diabetes, but you’ll never hear them say pray for me I have HIV”.

So that leads me to my next question. What is DeWayne Woods so afraid of?

One question that always pops up is whether or not he was presented to a medical review board and if his case was documented. Surely this is one for the books, right?

It seems that DeWayne is bent on telling his testimony on his terms and on his turf with little to no interaction from the media or his critics. One could assume he’s dodging the inevitable questions surrounding his sexuality or the marriage to a woman he oftens speaks of but is never seen in public with. We know an admission of homosexuality could potentially be the death of a gospel artist who works in an industry filled with closeted gay men and lesbians who subscribe to their own don’t ask don’t tell.

And we know from experience that the black community doesn’t have a history of embracing their LGBT brothers and sisters or accepting the fact that an artist who may have brought them closer to Christ through their music has a same –sex attraction. That would just be too much for some people to handle. We can forgive Kirk Franklin for his porn addiction but let him come out of the closet and I guarantee you all hell will break loose.

But to hear DeWayne’s testimony is riveting, whether it’s factual or not, (and I have my doubts) simply because it hasn’t been told before. And his intention to provoke a reaction is definitely working.

Just compare these two comments left on a video of DeWayne that I posted on YouTube.

“I must say thank you to the person who put this video on here. I was just diagnosed with HIV about 4 weeks ago and it’s been rough, but now I am truly convinced that God is truly a God of a second chance. These are the last days and healing is yours for the asking and I thank God for my healing!!!!! Will anybody agree with me for my healing?”

“If any one doubts this man's testimony then you doubt God. If you do not believe someone can be healed of HIV then you are saying that HIV is bigger than God. God through his son, Jesus performed many miracles. Many times people were cured in the Bible and these people sought doctors. The doctors could not do a thing for them but Jesus could.”


So there you have it. This debate on the authenticity of DeWayne Woods’ testimony is not likely to go away anytime soon. Maybe one day DeWayne will exert the same courage he had when he first gave his testimony that opened up the floodgate of speculation.

For every statement there is a follow up question, DeWayne can make the choice not to answer, but not making himself available to even entertain the possibility of such is cowardly. And this attribute doesn’t fall in line with the persona of DeWayne Woods. If I may, a word of advice taken directly from your signature song, just “Let Go”.

13 Comments:

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

To answer your questions:

What makes DeWayne Woods so special?

Perhaps you should be asking what makes God so special. Every believer [should] know that there is nothing of ourselves that makes us grand and glorious. But our Father is merciful unto us and His love is far greater than we could possibly imagine. So I don't know if there is anything remarkably special about Dwayne Woods as much as it is something GREAT about God.

What is DeWayne Woods so afraid of?

He is afraid of the very same thing that you are frustrated about -- the perception and stereotypes of the church. I have read your postings here as well as read your comments on GCM Watch, and they often come across frustrated at the way the church treats the SGL community. And it is those same perceptions, stereotypes, etc. that I can imagine causes some fear in Dwayne Woods. For many transparency only works up to a certain level. For him to devulge anymore than he has may not be where he is trying to go at this point in his life. What may be easy for you or others, may not be as easy for him.

March 20, 2008 6:30 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Ahhh Darian. Don't dog him like that.

I must say I was looking foward to the interview and it would have been really enlightening for many but time is everything and it just was'nt time for DeWayne to do the interview. Yes he came out and told the testimony about being healed from HIV. That was a step. Some people have to take baby steps, and it just wasn't time. But don't call the man a coward. 6 months from now, he may be like ok I'm ready now to tell my story.

And yes, I am SURE his people around him said NO DeWayne don't do it but when God nods his head and says YES, his interview will be more impacting to people than anyone could have ever imagined. And hopefully it will be right here at LOL Darian. I TRUELY TRUELY believe God had control and said wait on me.

Love Ya!

--Tron

March 20, 2008 12:37 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

darian..you of all people..I am shocked that you would pose these questions..Whose business is it How he contracted HIV, if he's married or not? While ur at it, ask him if he's a Top or Bottom why don'tcha...I mean, I agree with the previous comment, you sound frustrated. as a gbm myself, I can relate to Dewayne and his plight to keep some of his life personal. I mean, he didn't have to tell you abt his HIV, but that was HIS TESTIMONY..He's not obligated to tell you anything, homey...So why even start a blog that can possibly turn this man's life upside down when it seems to suddenly be stable, fruitful and truthful?? I am one of ur biggest fans, been reading ur blog for over a year, and we share a common bond of JANET. but I was totally thrown when I read this blog...maybe becasue I saw DeWayne last night here in Durham, N.C. on tour with the Clark Sisters for a benefit concert to help feed the hungry...I will say this, he did not shun away the "KIDS" when he was approached for pictures. Darian I say this with love....Why don't YOU "let go" of this topic and Let GOD release all of the frustration that you have within you to go totally out of your character and pick on this man simply because you submitted disrespectful questions for a gospel artist to answer and they shut you down...next time just go with ur instincts and keep it real and respectful...LOVE YOU MAN!!!!!. Keep up the good work...No ones Perfect.. so I'm gonna let this post slide....

March 20, 2008 3:41 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I usually don't like to respond in the comments section but rather open up this space for dialogue amongst my readers, but after reading how off base some of the comments are and how my words have been misconstrued I felt the need to.

This post was not written in an attempt to "pick on" DeWayne Woods or to ruin his career. I honestly didn't know my blog had that much power, but I digress.

I believe my words walked a fine line between praising the man, his music, his testimony and raising questions that people all over this country are asking about him.

Like it or not DeWayne Woods is a public figure and when you live a public life everything you do or say is under a microscope.

It baffles me that people seem to throw common sense and logic out of the window when anything is said or done in the name of God.

As a Christian myself I believe that God is a healer, a deliverer, and the provider of all my needs. But I don't think God ever intended for me or anyone else to leave their brain at home on Sunday mornings or during a testimony that to some may seem a little far reaching.

I believe this is a huge problem as it relates to internalized homophobia amongst black gay men. We've been taught to believe everything we read and hear in church as fact and to never question it. So many of us believe we're an abomination because the preacher said so and it would be sacrilegious to question his authority.

DeWayne Woods may very well be telling the truth and to that I say, God is good all the time! But for those who may approach his testimony with a little skepticism shouldn't be viewed as doubting God's power to heal.

Tron- I agree that it may not have been time for him to give the interview.

Anonymous- Thank you for reading regularly. I'm not expecting you to always agree with everything that I write. As I've stated before I write from the heart and if people resonate with my words then that's a plus.

I also think you should read the post again because nowhere in the post did I ever question DeWayne's sexuality or how he contracted the disease.

It doesn't matter how a person contracts HIV, what matters is whether or not they're receiving the support and medical attention needed to survive.

You also assumed wrong that my questions were disrespectful and I was shut down. First of all I never interview anyone that I don't have some level of respect for. I would have never agreed to an interview just to bash the subject. I'm not Perez Hilton.

Thank you all for taking the time to Live Out Loud.

Best,
Darian

March 20, 2008 8:27 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Dewayne Woods has said that he was "diagnosed with HIV in 1992 and [was] miraculously healed shortly thereafter".

Rather than ask him questions about his personal life, I would have asked him to show medical documentation backing up his claims that 1) he was diagnosed as HIV positive and 2) that he was later diagnosed as HIV negative.

Without supporting medical data, his "testimony" has no validity.

There is such a thing as a "false positive" test result. If this was the case, the error is usually discovered upon subsequent testing.

Also, remember a few years ago, when Ebony magazine came out with a story on Magic Johnson being "cured" of the virus? How could something this stupid appear in a mainstream black publication. The story was later corrected to indicate that he was not cured but that his viral load was "undetectable" due to the HIV medications he was taking.

My guess is that Mr. Woods is making up a story he knows a lot of people, especially black people, desperately want to believe. He may also be doing it to generate CD sales.

A study completed some years ago indicates that 46% of black gay men in five cities may be infected with the HIV virus. The last thing this vulnerable group needs to hear is some bogus claim that an HIV infection can be "cured" through prayer.

Get tested for HIV regularly and, if you test positive, take your meds as prescribed. Eat right and exercise. I have seen people come back from near death on these drugs. And new HIV drugs are being developed as we speak (or write).

March 21, 2008 3:07 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

darian...
i will try to address certain aspects of you comment:

i don't recall saying in my response (the first one) that you were "picking on" dewayne woods. so it is fair to say that you too are making assumptions just as you claim that the other respondants have. that's kinda the pot calling the kettle black, don't cha think?

there are many instances in your posting and subsequent comment that could easily lead one to question the sincerity. for example, the title smoke and mirrors. that right there invokes the imagery of some one attempting to be deception in what they say or do. is that really what you mean by that title?

second, you asked the question of what made dewayne woods so special. the tone of that question juxtaposed to other statements you made could definitely take someone aback and come across as disrespectful. clearly you deem him special enough to want to interview him, but the way in which you framed the question was like WTH, really?! what makes YOU special? me? any of us? as i said before, not a darn thing!

your references to God and testimonies was indeed quite baffling. first, where do you see common sense and logic being thrown out the window? second, why do you assume that brains are being left at home because some choose to believe the spirit of his testimony? notice i said the "spirit" of the testimony. the reason why it may seem "far reaching" to you is because it is not YOUR testimony. there are quite a few testimonies that seem unbelievable to me, but i still believe in the power that it gives the believer. and i believe in the power of God represented in it. and oh yeah, when it comes down to it, there is nothing too far reaching for God (whether we believe it or not). thought i would throw that one in there for free :-)

nowhere in my comment did you see me say that you questioned his sexuality or how he contracted the disease. so i will assume you are speaking to another response.

i am often torn in reading some of your postings and this is one of them. i have commented on previous posts, and many of my comments have not been posted despite nothing inflammatory being contained within. that further leaves me torn. i wonder sometimes if after you have written something if you take a step back and try to look at it from a different vantage point. but oh well...it is what it is...

March 21, 2008 7:10 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Here are two words you will not find together in the Bible; "false positive"

When your blood is tested for HIV, the lab first performs what is known as an EIA or ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay). A negative EIA means that no antibodies were found in the blood and that the person is HIV-negative. A positive result is confirmed with a second EIA. If the second EIA is positive, a Western Blot must be done to ensure that the antibodies detected in the EIA test are really HIV antibodies. The Western Blot test can come back positive, negative, or inconclusive.

About 0.2 percent of EIA tests give positive results that are proven false ("false positives")by the Western Blot test. This percentage does not vary between the general population and pregnant women. As noted in an article published in the August 14-28, 2000 Archives of Internal Medicine, an EIA can be falsely positive for several reasons, including a patient's autoimmune disease, multiple pregnancies, blood transfusions, liver diseases, parenteral substance abuse, hemodialysis, or vaccinations for Hepatitis B, rabies, or influenza.

A pious man could believe he was cured of HIV by God, but could his EIA have been false positive to begin with?

March 22, 2008 11:09 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

From "DC Proud": Only one thought I'd like to add: I've been HIV+ since 1987. I do not consider myself "cured" -- at least in the physical sense. If I were to take an HIV test today, it would still show positive. But nor do I feel that HIV is bigger than God. My life proves that it isn't, because I have been able to live a spiritually victorious life in spite of the infection. Let's not lose sight of the fact that while we usually pray for healing in the flesh, God is most interested in healing of the spirit. That spiritual healing will always have an impact in the physical world, but it may not be the impact we ask for. Instead, from the perspective of heaven, it will be far better. The danger of what DeWayne Woods is doing is that struggling people will miss the profound message of the apostle Paul, who when God refused to answer his prayer to have a "thorn" removed from him, was told "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I won't say I'm cured, but I can say that I have had the experience of God's power being made perfect in my weakness. And I think that is a very powerful testimony.

March 23, 2008 9:54 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I'm not surprised that Dewayne Woods chose not to answer your questions and declined your scheduled interview.

He's a liar... Plain and simple. What's very dangerous and grossly irresponsible about his "testimony" is that it HAS reached vulnerable people and it HAS INFUNENCED them to abandon treatment or common sense in hopes that God will cure them.

I'm not telling folks to abandon spirituality, but let's keep it real. If God truly healed him, where is the PROOF? Doubting his testimony isn't doubting God it's obeying scripture. Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, in his second epistle to the Thessalonians, to "PROVE ALL THINGS... Holdfast to that which is good". God would not have wrought a miracle without any proof to corroborate the purported miracle.

His testimony contains incredulous and fantastical claims about being tested and standing before medical boards. That stuff DOESN'T happen. Maybe the Christian sheep (pun intended) are that gullible, but people with good sense and full of faith are not.

I really think DeWayne's issuses are deeply tied to his inability to admit that he's gay (was then and still is now). Having been around enough Gospel Artists in my lifetime, I can tell you that most of them are homosexual and many of them living with HIV. It's sad that they have to lie to themselves and suffer because they believe that they are abberaions of God's creation.

DeWayne's testimony is masking his secret hurt at the hands of the church.

March 24, 2008 6:37 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

bsg....

your comment is a trip...as is so many of your comments on other blogs around the net. since you want proof of his HIV status, where is your proof that he is a liar? just because someone else decided to throw common sense out the window because of someone else's testimony, dewayne woods is to blame?! wow...that's an interesting theory. it's fascinating that you are able to say certain "stuff doesn't happen." i am amazed that you are so knowledgable in all things.

i still stand by my original comment (the first one) in answering the questions darian posed and my follow-up response to darian. if you want proof of his testimony, i think you must be able to prove that he is a liar with what you have now. until then, i think it is unfair to call him a liar...but those harsh type of comments seem to come from you a lot bsg, so it comes as no surprise. and your type of comments may cause him just as much fear in full disclosure as those judgemental folk in the church. :-/

March 25, 2008 6:17 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Dewayne Woods' claim, that he was diagnosed as HIV positive (and the diagnosis was correct) and later "cured" (and is now HIV negative) flies in the face of all we know and/or have heard about this disease. His claim is simply not believable.

Mr. Woods should provide medical documentation to substantiate his claim. He allegedly has said he has the medical documents to show that what he says is true. So why can't he show us the medical evidence? Because there is no such medical documentation and he's a liar.

March 25, 2008 10:48 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Anonymous,

When Dewayne provides PROOF thaT HE HAS BEEN HEALED (i.e. seronegative ELISAs and WBs, Lack of HIV antigen in blood, tissue, and Central Nervous System)then I'll believe it. When God performed miracles in the bible there was physical PROOF to substantiate the claim to demonstrate God's power to believers and infidels.God doesn't perform miracles in a half-assed fashion; you either are HEALED or you aren't. No gray area...

Where is DeWayne's proof? What Medical board was he required to stand before? Why hasn't this healing been recorded in scientific journals?

You are right. I am very knowlegeable about these things because I've immersed my life in it. I have backgrounds in Biology and Chemistry and my research experience was specifically in HIV/AIDS/ID and immunological diseases.

I contacted DeWayne directly and he was unable to provide ANY information to corroborate this "Big Fish" story. Dewayne is still living with HIV. He may be a Long term non-progressor, or may still be asymptomatic, but he's not healed.

The sad thing is that he wwill probably die of some AIDS related complication because of his shame. I feel sorry for him.

March 25, 2008 10:18 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Darian I totally understand where you are coming from, I just heard his testimony for the first time, and the same questions rose in my head, minus what makes him so special. For that question, he's so special because God created him as He did everyone else. All of His children are special to Him. Maybe this testimony can help someone, maybe make someone think before they have sex again without protection. I don't know how he contracted it but I imagine it could have been unprotected sex... However, the rest of the questions I can understand because I ask the same questions. Don't be discouraged, you have that freedom to say what you want... Now don't get me wrong, God is capable of doing anything! Since He is capable of creating this earth and all the complex individuals living on it, I'm sure he can heal ANYTHING! I agree there are more questions that arise from this testimony.

August 26, 2009 2:21 PM

 

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