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I Was Born This Way: A Gay Preacher's Journey through Gospel Music, Disco Stardom, and a Ministry in Christ Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 1, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, June 1, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

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"There is a wonderful gospel song entitled, "How I Got Over," which I believe exemplifies the life of Archbishop Carl Bean.This book is an amazing testimony of one man's journey to find himself, and in doing so he became one of the heroes of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered movement, as well as being a major crusader for the fight against HIV/AIDS. Carl's story will make you laugh and cry. He tells of his life with an honesty that will, I'm sure, shock some readers, but you will not be able to put this book down until the end."

--Reverend Troy D. Perry, Founder of the Metropolitan Community Churches



“Sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying, always illuminating, I Was Born This Way will become a light in the darkness for many readers. It could not be more welcome.

--Anthony Heilbut, author of The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times

"Bean has certainly led a one-of-a-kind life, and his fast-moving, engaging memoir illuminates the 1960s and ’70s gospel world and provides the rare perspective of a homosexual minister....The message is insightful and often powerful. A worthy memoir from a truly unique individual."

-- Kirkus

About the Author

David Ritz is the only four-time winner of the Gleason Music Book Award. He has collaborated with Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Smokey Robinson, and Don Rickles. He also cowrote, with Gaye, the song “Sexual Healing.”
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416592822
  • ASIN: B004JZWO06
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,348,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
During the heyday of disco, it's doubtful that anyone foresaw that the homo-positive nightclub anthem would still be oft-remixed three decades later. "The song became an anthem of liberation for everyone," Archbishop Bean writes in his entertaining autobiography. "It was Holy Ghost power, prompting me, pushing me on."

“I Was Born This Way” is more than a song by Lady Gaga. “I Was Born This Way” was 1977 hit song by Carl Bean about being proud to be "Gay" that came out well ahead of the Village People.

Though Bean didn't write the song, its infectious hook - "I'm happy, I'm carefree and I'm gay" - synthesized the attitude he needed to overcome a brutal childhood marred by sex abuse and a short career as a gospel singer that devolved into wilderness years of poverty and homelessness. Eventually, this black boy from Baltimore reemerged as an AIDS activist and the founder of the Unity Fellowship of Christ Church that he founded five years after the release of his version of the “I Was Born This Way” song.

"While suffering, these people asked for my hand," Archbishop Bean writes of his AIDS ministry, one of the first to reach out to HIV-positive minorities sidelined by the homophobia of many churches. "These encounters showed me the transcendence of the divine." The Village People's "YMCA" might get more airplay, but Bean doesn't need a construction worker outfit to build a moving narrative.

Archbishop Bean: “God is love, and love is for everyone.”
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By joan swain on September 14, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyed this book from start to finish . Inform and insightful. A history lesson regarding music church and the gay community.As a nurse who worked in Long Beach Ca during.g the 80 s I saw how Hiv destroyed many young fruitful lives great book
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Format: Hardcover
Carl Bean lived through unspeakable horrors, poverty, and the music industry and has triumphed over all of them with his unshakable faith in God and Love. Okay, honest, this is not the best written book, the narrative jumps and is a little inconsistent, however the book is the author's journey. The journey through compassion, through service, and through respecting the dignity of every marginalized people in the dawn of the AIDS epidemic is heart-wrenching and can teach us all about how to be better. Christianity, thanks to the religious right, has a terrible reputation of judgment, condemnation and fear. Thank you Reverend Bean for showing people that it isn't all like that.
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Format: Hardcover
Born into a life of poverty and abuse in Baltimore, Carl Bean managed to glean the positive forces within his life and Christian faith, eventually going off on his own to New York City, as an openly-gay 16 year old with a dream of becoming a famous gospel singer. After many years of ups and downs in the music industry, being cheated by those he trusted but who were jealous of his talent, he had a Motown disco hit, "I Was Born This Way," a gay anthem that caught on like wildfire. Offered a lucrative contract to sing "mainstream" balads (i.e., heterosexual love songs), Bean turned it down, eventually finding his calling to the ministry during the height of the AIDS crisis in Los Angeles. He founded the Unity Fellowship, the first area ministry that specifically had an outreach to minority individuals with AIDS, and which still exists today with churches in several cities.

This is a memoir filled with seemingly insurmountable problems in his life, which he handles with great faith ... not necessarily just faith in God, but faith in good people to help a fellow man. An uplifting, spirited story of an extraordinary individual who found his calling and personal fulfillment. Especially recommended for fans of gospel or early R&B singers, many of whom are an intergral part of the story. Four stars out of five.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm glad i don't remember too much of the book. It spook me a bit.
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Format: Hardcover
Carl Bean may not be a well-known name, but his life story is both extraordinary and shocking. Carl was born in the North East in Baltimore where as a young boy he was constantly sexually abused by heterosexual males. As the years went by he discovered he had a fondness for music, and he is perhaps most known in the gay community as a so-called "one hit wonder" having released the song "I Was Born This Way", a gay disco anthem that hit the charts in 1977 on Motown Records. He eventually left recording and became a minister and a proponent for AIDS/HIV.
If you love biographies and enjoy reading about the ups and downs of people, "I Was Born This Way" will satisfy your thirst. As a gay man I especially enjoyed reading this book about a man growing up in the very conservative 1940's and 1950's and realizing that no matter how hard I may have had it, homosexual men like Bean are an example that if you have faith and believe in yourself you can and will survive.
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