CHICAGO – The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Gospel singer Albertina Walker of Chicago died on Friday at the age of 81.
Born in Chicago in 1929, Walker began singing in the choir of West Point Baptist church at the age of 4. Walker was urged to pursue a gospel singing career by the woman who became her mentor, iconic gospel great Mahalia Jackson. Walker launched her official career at age 22, when, urged by Jackson, she formed her group the Caravans. She was a fixture in body and spirit at Chicago’s Gospel Festival since the event’s inception, both solo and with the Caravans.
Walker had been battling emphysema, and died Friday morning in a Chicago hospital, where she had been since late August.
Walker was noted by those in the black gospel music industry as an influential and “iconic” fixture in the black gospel music world for decades but in 2007 had an unpleasant public brush with the gay christian world and its musical tentacles. Walker agreed to perform at lesbian bishop Yvette Flunder’s nefarious Fellowship Conference. GCM Watch broke the story in June 2007 with controversial results.
After learning of our story, GCM Watch was contacted by Walker’s granddaughter who stated that the gospel singer was in essence tricked by Flunder’s camp into performing at the event. Tina Nance said that Walker was “quite upset” at being booked at a gay church conference and would put policies in place to prevent it from happening in the future.
“My name is Tina Nance and Albertina Walker is my Grandmother. I came across this article while visiting her today for her Birthday. Let me first say that my grandmother did not know the background of this organization until after the event, had she known this information she would not have been a part of this program. When she learned of this information, after the fact she was quite upset, but by then it was too late. The management company that books the CARAVANS has made the appropriate changes to their process to ensure that this situation does not occur in the future.
Furthermore, I do not understand why my grandmother was singled out when she appeared at this event as part of the Caravans not as a soloist. I realize that her name is perhaps the most recognizable on the flyer, but it would’ve been responsible to mention that she performed with the Caravans and not as a soloist. My grandmother does not in anyway support or promote this lifestyle, this was very simply a case of her not being given pertinent information. Finally, I would like to add that Albertina Walker is possibly the easiest artist to contact on Earth, it would not have been at all difficult for a responsible journalist to reach her.”
You can read the entire story and our response to Tina Nance here.