Gospel singer and registered Democrat Bebe Winans has upset some fans by performing at the Republican National Convention in Tampa last night. Some have interpreted his presence as an endorsement of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, but Winans says his performance wasn't about politics.
Winans, who performed in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention and also campaigned for President Barack Obama when he ran for office, baffled fans tuned into broadcasts of the RNC last night, when Romney accepted his party's nomination for the presidency.
Apparently aware that some might be upset with his presence in Tampa, Winans told The Washington Post ahead of his closing performance: "I want to remind people that before any association with any party that we're all Americans. No matter who wins, if we don't come together and really invest in the country we love, we're not going to solve the problems."
However, some fans who didn't see it that way took to Twitter to assail the Christian singer, who reportedly earned a standing ovation for his performance of "America, America."
Others thought it best to voice their disagreement by boycotting Winans' music.
"Just deleted every gospel song you on out my iTunes RT @bebewinans," wrote @imchrislewis.
Alejandro Niglesias (@AlejandroDaGr8) apparently couldn't make his protest permanent.
"Gotta deport the BeBe Winans records in my iTunes to the Recycle Bin for a few weeks just because," he wrote.
The longtime singer, who often collaborates with sister Cece Winans, also responded to questions about his appearance at the Republican convention in a video shared on YouTube. In it, Winans reveals that he was not paid by the RNC for his appearance Thursday night.
Those who viewed the video found the criticism Winans received uncalled for, with one visitor to the YouTube interview writing: "Bebe Winans received a healthy dose of left-wing intolerance last night. The disgraceful comments lobbed at this man by Democrats were simply disgusting."
Longtime fans of the gospel and R&B singer were not the only ones apparently taken aback by his presence at the Republican National Convention.
Before hitting the stage last night, Winans shared with The Washington Post that he had also been scheduled to perform at the Democratic National Convention next week in Charlotte, N.C., but those plans have fallen through.
"I was, but the invitation was taken back," Winans said. "No hard feelings."