Le'Andria Johnson may have earned respect in the gospel music industry when she won the "Sunday Best" singing competition in 2010, but the mother of four who welcomed a new child this month admits that some do not approve of her having a baby out of wedlock.
Johnson, 29, won a Grammy Award this year, but said that does not stop people from judging her situation.
"I've gone through so much with people who say they love me – people who say they're there for me," Johnson told Essence magazine recently. "You get pregnant out of wedlock and the whole world turns against you, That's how it felt. But you've got to keep moving."
Still, Johnson said that her doubters give her strength to keep making music and being a mother.
"My strength and courage come from people who say I can't make it," the gospel singer said. "I'm realizing that now."
While Johnson admits to battling issues with men and addiction, she said people have focused most on her giving birth without a husband.
"I was battling drinking and that was all people talked about in the gospel industry. Different things like having men problems or falling in love with the wrong guy… maybe that wasn't juicy enough for the gospel industry," Johnson admitted to Essence. "But the moment I got pregnant out of wedlock, that was the juicy part and that carried. It's still carrying on. To hear different ones say, 'She needs to be sat down until she gets this together...' I disagree with all the pastors and bishops that sit their members down for whatever type of behavior they have."
While Johnson said she is not condoning her actions, she also said she refuses to hide the fact that she's not married after welcoming her fourth baby into the world this month.
"Listen, for one, I'm a member of your church, I pay tithing into your church. I sow seed into your ministry," she said of the people attempting to judge her. "If you're going to silence me, then I feel like you need be silenced as well. If not, you're letting me know you're perfect. I refuse. I'm not the first woman in this industry to be pregnant out of wedlock, I'm not hiding it or condoning."
Johnson said instead of trying to please people, she will continue to serve God.
"I'm not going to stop because you think I should stop. I don't serve you, I serve God," the singer told Essence of her critics in the church. "I'm letting you know that God still blesses and He uses whoever he wants."