Nearly two years ago next month, the black church and various other media outlets and blogs couldn’t wait to dispel the latest sentiments from a message involving mega church Pastor Jamal Bryant. Bryant, who’s certainly no stranger when it comes to controversy both in and outside of the pulpit, received an enormous amount of scrutiny and public backlash when he preached a sermon that contained a line from current R&B bad boy Chris Brown and his latest song at that time, “These H**s [Girls] Ain’t Loyal.” Seems like the mega church Pastor can’t leave these ‘girls’ alone as yet another woman has come forward alleging Bryant is the father of her newborn son. According to reports from The Christian Times, the child’s mother, Latoya Shawntee Odom, a 34-year old Californian massage therapist, bare it all to Obnoxious Television through a series of text messages that she had a sexual relationship with the popular pastor and gave birth to his son, who she named John Karston Bryant, in July 2015. The woman also freely and willingly provided Obnoxious Media a copy of the paternity tests that Bryant has requested and paid for. The test was carried out by LB Genetics, one of the most trusted DNA testing facilities in California among U.S. federal courts. The facility specializes in paternity, family relationship, and human identification testing. Test results sent to Odom showed that Bryant is 99.9999% to the 10-month-old boy.
The founder of Empowerment Temple A.M.E. Church and son of Bishop John Richard Bryant, the charismatic pastor have undergone several scandals involving women before which eventually lead to the divorce of his now estranged wife, Gizelle Bryant, back in 2008. Bryant appeared to show a level of contrition and sincerity in an interview he did with Roland Martin entitled, Drama in the Church: Temptation Ended His Marriage, Nearly Destroyed the Ministry of Pastor Bryant. In the candid 2013 interview, the then rejuvenated reverend spoke about how God restored his ministry after an extramarital affair nearly tore it apart. As Bryant explains:
“My father [Roland] asked me a critical question: ‘Were you preaching for applause? If you were preaching for applause and the people—it was a performance. But if you preaching because of your calling—your assignment; the same passion you had when there was thousands; is the same kind of intention now that you got to have now there’s been reduced to hundreds’” (…)
Since the interview, Bryant was again catapulted to the spotlight and appeared on numerous nationally syndicated platforms, reality shows as a spiritual adviser, mentor, and recently as a prominent voice in the Black Lives Matter movement. Just last month, Rev. Bryant held a peace march which signaled the one-year anniversary death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, and the civil unrest that transpired. As reported by the Baltimore Sun, Bryant left an online message asking those listening to invite as many people as possible, and to come from all across the region. Bryant further stated:
“Come in from D.C., from Virginia, from Delaware, from Philadelphia, from New York. Come on y’all. Stand with Baltimore. Let’s make a change. Let’s change this city. Let’s change the narrative. Let’s change a generation.”
Now with this latest scandal being added to his philanderous belt, reports have also surfaced that Mr. ‘Black Lives Matter’ Bryant also pressured Ms. Odom to have an abortion because his career—I mean ministry, couldn’t sustain another devastating blow. The tumultuous timing couldn’t have come at a more celebratory time in Bryant’s life as he and several others who I call, ‘motivational ministers’, are set to star in an upcoming show called, The Preachers.
It will be interesting to see how Bryant’s church and those in the clerical hierarchy handle or discipline the reverend this time (if at all) due to his ‘celebrity’ status. Among a plethora of issues which reside in the Negro church, the ongoing lax of church discipline when it comes to certain leaders (mostly males) is staggering. Whereas if this had of been a woman caught ‘hoeing it up’ in like manner, not only would she had been told to step down, but she would have been ostracized in front of that congregation and told to leave the ministry. The double standard is indeed frightening when it comes to these popular ministers who, no matter what they do, people will claim they have been called of God and will tell you to keep your mouth off the manned or woman of Gawd (you know, the whole touch not my anointed scripture). It truly baffles my mind because you would think if this pastor was bold enough to recite some Chris Brown’s lyrics in his sermon, at the very least you would think he’d watched himself in this current “exposure” culture. No, I’m not excusing passa Bryant for his continuous indiscretions out of the pulpit. As the saying goes, ‘What’s done in the dark will eventually come to the light,’ even if that light is for attention that could pay dividends that includes a reality show—which leads me to Latoya Odom. I find it strange that Bryant’s massage mistress would come forward with this (not surprisingly) bombshell against him even though he’s supporting their lovechild financially. The DNA test as reported and leaked by Ms. Odom herself was done last year in August according to Obnoxious Television’s blog. I guess she wants to put it all out there and not look like the typical church jump off, but to become transparent with her future audience because after all, she’s studying to become, you guessed it—a pastor herself. I guess this trial or test will become a testimony for either Bryant or Odom as well. The only surprise is who will regurgitate that line first between the two.
Peace and love y’all!