Debarge family…a family in a history of crisis …shattered lives

December 14, 2008 bsmith101
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I was shocked when I read this story in Vibe magazine.  I would have never realized the things that they were going through…and had gone through as they were all growing up.  It is a shame some of the things that many children are forced to endure.  There is little wonder why some have such anger and rage years later. On the surface who would have thought what hidden darkness they had locked within.  Family secrets can be some of the worst kind of secrets.

They were one of the hottest family groups along with the Jackson’s to emerge from Motown.  It is funny how success usually is often rooted in so much pain, sorrow and personal sadness.

A large family of 8 boys and 2 girlsBunny, El, Randy, Mark and James made up the DeBarges, the Motown singing group, who left home from Detroit by way of Grand Rapids, Michigan to LA in search of success… but they were haunted by many sad memories that perhaps they had been trying to escape…but found that they couldn’t.

Two other members of the family made up part of the group called Switch which was e4071also hot during the early 80’s, Bobby and Tommy.

Tortured by the deep dark secrets they all shared and carried into their success in the 80’s, they were colored by a past that ultimately claimed most of their lives.   Their lives have been left shattered…and though the church could not and did not help shield them from the events that were taking place in their home as very young children…but over time some have found healing and renewing in God.

You can read the full story below.  It is sad…and painful to read.

When I think of the times that a friend and I used to rush home to catch them being showcased on TV shows, and how we used to laugh at them.  Though we loved their music and them…it always struck us, me and one of my friends, that the boys…were well rather ‘sweet.’   And I am shamefully sorrowful of that now.

We should not poke fun or laugh at others.   And I will not blame it upon my youth nor on the lack of proper home training.

I never laughed at people with disabilities but I have seen people who have…and I have seen them do it openly as I was growing up.  These people, of course, were not in our family…because my parents were not that kind of people.  Plus they would not have ever allowed it of us.  Nor did they indulge in gossiping or talking or laughing about anyone.  Yes, they would occasionally chuckle about things.  But they were never mean spirited or degrading people, nor did they find fault with people or talk or laughed about anyone.

There are some things which some people feel is okay to pick at or make fun of about other people.  But if you really think about it…that could never be further from the truth.

I laughed at those boys, fine as they were but yet so effeminate…I found humor in that.

Should we laugh at such things and pick fun at people?

No.  We should not.

And I regret having ever done it…which is why I am writing this blog.

I have never liked preachers doing such things as finding humor at the expense of gay people.  It seems that within the debarge1church everything else is sacred accept poking fun and making jokes about gay people.  They do not do that with any other sinprostitution, lying, stealing, murdering…none of these things find their way into a Sunday morning sermon or any other time…as a joke.

Then why should they find it okay to make jokes about gays, lesbians or homosexuals?

And really the church is loaded with…  Well, it is loaded with some of everything.  And a lot of times from the top to the bottom…somebody is doing something which they should not be doing or acting out in ways which are not Godly.

And I am not trying to come down on the church or incite a war of words.  But the church is full of everything.  It was true in Jesus’ time and it is still very true today.   The church is even full of predators.  Not so long ago at least 10 Priests in the upper North East, the Massachusetts…Boston area were found quilty of such acts…leaving in their wake hundreds of very shattered and broken lives.

In Connecticut a preacher impregnated a 12 year girl that he had been routinely been engaging in sexual intercourse with.  Since she was 12 when she had the baby…she had to be 11 or maybe 10 if not younger when he first got started. 

This was the plight of the DeBarge children.

Without a doubt there should be some level of sensitivity with regards to making jokes that are belittling and unkind to anyone at any time.  And particularly any jokes about all those lost in sin… any sin.   The church is suppose to loving and giving in spirit.   Yet, it is sanctuary for all types of activity as well.

Once well sitting in the choir as a young teen…I was seated beside this boy.  His father was preaching less than…I  don’t know…less that 4 or 5 feet away.  And this boy produced from under his choir robe his…….. and tried to pulled my hand across to touch it.   I at the time did not quite understand anything about erections or anything else.   But that was what he had…and his father was preaching right there beside us as his son did this one Sunday morning…in front of the whole church.  It is hard for me to believe that no one sitting in the church that Sunday saw our exchange as we were seated on the front row of the choir facing outward…must less seeing what he had in his hand.

switch1Nor, will I ever forget the night I dropped this woman home following church service  that night…and this was not so very long ago.  As I pulled in front of her building and she was about to get out of my car she suddenly turned to me and kissed me in a way no woman had ever kissed me before.  And having come out of lesbianism…that should
speak volumes as to how and the way this woman kissed me. But I didn’t say anything.  I didn’t respond.  She got out and I drove home determined to not even think about what that woman had just done.  And I didn’t.

I didn’t think about it…for a couple of reasons.   For one thing because I didn’t want to dwell on that kiss.   For another reason I just did not want to obsess  about it.  I felt it was a trap…orchestrated by the devil to try to lure me back into a life I had now left behind.  And I was not going to fall for it.  So, I shoved that kiss and that woman aside in my mind…and never bothered to linger there thinking about it…now or then.

But the church is full of a lot of things…like whoremongers, adulterers , liars etc.   None of which I see any humor in…as all sin is sin and shameful.  But for some reason people in the church really like to poke  fun and laugh about gay people…and no one seems to find that to be offensive…but me it seems.

It is almost as though it is open season on gays in most churches while all else is taboo as something to joke about.  None of it should be something to joke about.  Perhaps it is that none of them were ever gay…or maybe they just do not want to confess to it.  But there must be some reason for this.

Here were these children, the DeBarges,  growing up in the church and such nasty things were going on in their own home from the earliest of ages.  And I laughed at them when they finally hit the stage and started performing.

They were the most beautiful family of siblings…as were drs_jacksons_200511those Jacksons.




And in case you do not understand what ‘fine’ means when used here this way…it means that they were fantastically handsome, terribly good looking etc…etc…etc…

But those boys acted so gay.

I didn’t try to figure it out…I didn’t try to see anything other than that.  And it struck me as being humorous…and that is as sad as whatever else they had to go through…if not more so.   That we should all be so small…especially me…to have thought that that was humorous.

I sincerely apologize for that now.  Not just because I now have a part inkling of Bobby Debarge their story, affliction and pain that they were forced to suffer…but because it was wrong of me to do so in the first place.  And particularly because of all the misery and heartaches they have all had to come through and to have to bear in their lives very young children.

I cannot imagine how hard it is for a child to grow up having a father who is a predator…and using his own children sexually for most of their years growing up.


In August of 1996, Bobby DeBarge at the age of 39 died after years of alcohol and drugs abuse.  He died from complications AIDS related.  He was named after his father, Robert Louis DeBarge, a man who frequently sexually abused his own children beginning very early in their childhood.  Bobby was a multi-1027_el_debarge_mug14talented song writer, lead singer and musican.  In 1988 both he and his younger, Chico, were arrested for attempting to traffic drugs, they served 6 years in prison.

In October of this year, 2008, El DeBarge was back in court on more drug charges, vandalism and domestic violence.  Though for many years El was able to not fall prey to the demons chasing him, as well as, his other sisters and brothers…but following Bobby’s death and other family issues, El too soon fell to the demons chasing them all.

Update on EL:  I was very happy to see El last week when he emerged on the Soul Train Music Awards Show.  He looks absolutely great… and he sounded great too.  I am happy for him.  Trying to pull your life back together is not an easy accomplishment.  But thank God it can happen.

2116s1e1 Bunny today is free of drugs and alcohol.  She is saved and a mother.  She is living her life as a Christian and has just finished writing a book called “The Kept Ones,” a tell all autobiography.

James DeBarge who was once married to Janet Jackson for a few weeks before her family had the marriage annulled, is also saved and living his life as a Christian, as well is their mother, Etterlene DeBarge.

You can CLICK the LINK S below to read the whole VIBE magazine story.

Their mother Etterlene DeBarge, which is also Bunny’s real name, is 72 with her own page on myspace.

Their lives have not been easy.  But through it all they have a testimony of 2ab-the-bishop-wifecoversurvival, defying the odds and are attempting to rise above, and through it all to once again unite as a family victorious through Christ Jesus.

In the  words of James DeBarge in the last youtube video clip below-

“Oh, Lord…I don’t care what it sounds like…or how I come off.   I just want somebody to be saved.”View Bernadine Smith's profile on FiledBy

Child abuse hurts…and in many cases it ruins people’s lives.  Many never recover from it.  Some just learn how to go on.  But we all remember it…and it does remain with us for the rest of our lives whether it appears on the outside or not.

UPDATE: July 29, 2010…Robert Debarge, the father, died last year, August 2009.  What a very sad, lonely and broken man he must have been for all the horrors he committed.  Truly a sad story…which I understand is soon going to hit the big screen.

UPDATE: August 7, 2012…Just checking on my files and things as I usually do…when I spotted that a few people had been looking for info on the death of James.  Immediately, I hit the internet looking thinking that James must have just died.  But thank God… he has not.  But I came across some pictures of him… and he has really aged.

In looking at his pictured I noticed how much he looks like his father.  It must be hard waking up in the morning and looking into the mirror and seeing him… the face of the man who used to abuse you and all your other siblings.

I imagine that they all have good days… and bad days.  There are some scars that never go away.  That kind of  hurt most hurt forever…but thank goodness for Jesus, He can make a difference.  A lot of things become easier to bare because of  Him.

Let us keep them all lifted up in our prayers.

THE BISHOP’S WIFE is now on sale…CLICK this LINK to purchase my book.  And I would like to thank you all…if you have purchased my book.  It is amazing to see that my book sells are growing and it is because of people like you.  I thank you…and hope that it is a blessing upon to you.

God bless…and…

…pass it on…’

CLICK the above screen a COUPLE TIMES if it fails to play at first attempt…and ignor the text which appears on the screen.

God bless…and thanks for reading and  …pass it on ©2008


Entry Filed under: AIDS,Choice,Church people,Dealing with loss,death,Debarges,Detroit,family disputes,Family Values,health,HIV,Homosexuality,MUSIC,Paedophile,Parenting,Radio Industry,sex,Switch,the Bible,the Taboo subject,youtube

73 Comments Add your own

  • 1. watcat  |  March 17, 2009 at 3:18 am

    Hi this blog is great I will be recommending it to friends.

  • 2. RaiulBaztepo  |  March 28, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  • 3. PiterKokoniz  |  April 7, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Hello ! 😉
    I am Piter Kokoniz. Just want to tell, that I’v found your blog very interesting
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    Sorry for my bad english:)
    Your Piter

  • 4. bsmith101  |  April 8, 2009 at 2:12 am

    Hi, Piter

    Happy you liked the blog. No, it is not a hobby for me. Just something I do from day to day…or whenever I can…depending upon if and what I have to say.

    And your English is fine. Though we spell Piter…Peter. Enjoy.

  • 5. Jewels  |  September 12, 2009 at 3:44 am

    I knew the 2 youngest Debarge children (Darryl (Young) & twin, Carol Debarge) in the early/mid 80’s, when Debarge was becoming BIG. I’ve got to say that they were a sweet, kind, incredible family; all very supportive of one another. Most of them came to Darryl & Carol’s graduation, and El came to school to pick them up at times….And that is where I met El and Chico one day. El gave me a kiss I’ll always remember (on the cheek of course), and his quiet voice & adorably shy personality was so very charming. He reminded me of Michael Jackson, who I’d also met/worked with before because I was a studio singer for 16+ yrs as a child/young adult. I didn’t know about the sexual abuse in their family, and am devastated to hear that their father has caused them all so much pain. I still love their talent and I KNOW FOR A FACT that regardless of their personal struggles….They are all a remarkable family, and I’m so very happy to hear they’re finding God to help heal the pain & have eternal peace. Thank you for sharing this, and to the Debarge family: I’m a fan, no matter what you’ve been through because you’re people just like me & everyone else. No one is better or worse than you all…You are loved. xoxo, Jewels

  • 6. bsmith101  |  September 12, 2009 at 5:12 am

    Thank you for your beautiful response to my blog on the DeBarge family. One has to feel for them, and also respect them for having been able to go through that type of abuse…and for so long. They are truly a remarkable family. And you were able to share even more insite into who they were.

    Thank you again.

    • 7. judy  |  December 30, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      I just want to say I grew up on the debarge fa0rmily it was the group switch with the brother bobby in the 80’s and them came the debarge I love yall then and I love yall now ,my heart goes out to yall and your in my prayers, god bless…

      • 8. bsmith101  |  January 1, 2012 at 12:11 am

        I am sure that they all will appreciate your beautiful words and love for them as artists and a family.

        Now knowing the pain and sorrow that was running through their lives and family…I too must say I thank God for His strenght in keeping, and shinning His light down upon them. And kept them and their minds through that time in their lives…and now.

        And may God bless you too…and thank you for your beautiful comment to them. And rest assure that they have and do read what you all have shared.

      • 9. danielle  |  March 15, 2012 at 11:42 pm

        jus like alot of other ppl, i also grew up listening to switch, then debarge, in fact i still have that one album by debarge, where they are on the phone. i was watchn dr.drew today mar 15,2012, and seen the debarge family on there and heard their story, although it was aired back in sept 2011, i didnt catch it then. but when iheard their story, it jus brought tears to my eyes to know that they had to endure this type of abuse from yo own family. my prayers are with the debarge siblings and i hope that you guys get better may god continue to bless you guys, lov your music danielle

      • 10. bsmith101  |  March 18, 2012 at 3:42 am

        So, that would explain why so many people have been reading my blog these couple of days…because they were recently on television?

        I know that TV-ONE did a show on them also. I am happy that they are openingly sharing their story…and sorrows…and of course their victories since. There are so many people who have had to endure all types of abuse and need to know that they were not the ones to blame for it happening to them… and that they can come out alright…and be able to get over it and have a happy and successful future free of those tears…and shame.

        Thanks for your comment.

  • 11. teri  |  January 13, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    i have and Will be a debargeluva4life and i dont care what they did in the past,it needs to stay there: IN THE PAST!! if you dont like debarge, please dont leave retarded comments and im just keepin it way 5000!! ~debargeluva4life~

  • 12. Antoinette Rice White  |  March 4, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    I am in the same age range of the De Barge family. Often, I listen to their music. It does not matter what any person thinks of them.

    The only who can give the love they truly need is the Almighty Creator and the Lord Jesus the Messiah and the power of the Holy Spirit.

    If anyone knows anything about the holy scriptures in the New Testment: Jesus the Messiah does not appreciate anyone who abuse children. There will be a day of judgment for humans who chose evil by hurting the innocent.

    I love them. They feel like family to me.

    I pray for all of the De Barge family and the generation to come to be healed of any abuses. In Jesus’ Name. Let It Be So!

    • 13. bsmith101  |  March 4, 2010 at 8:52 pm

      I thank you for your comment. This blog is perhaps the most popular one on my site. There are many who still love the DeBarge’s. I am thankful to God that He is who He is. He is merciful. And through Him ever hurt and pain can be mended. I am sure that Bunny, El, James and all the other DeBarge’s will get great pleasure out of reading your words of encouragement.

  • 14. L. A. W.  |  March 19, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    A few weeks ago I saw El on Brian McKnight show. It was so good to see his beautiful face and wonderful talent. I pray for the healing of he and his family. I would, and I’m sure many others would also, like to see them performing.

    Especially since we have all lost our beloved Michael, and there is a whole in the music industry for great song-writing–this would be the ideal time for them to bring us all joy with their music.

    I hope El reads this, God bless him–he sang Time Revealed so very beautifully on the Brian McKnight show, I had to record it on my DVR and felt utterly moved to contact him somehow and tell him learn from Michael’s fall, stay strong and in prayer. God will heal all.


    • 15. bsmith101  |  March 19, 2010 at 8:35 pm

      What a great story and express of love for a highly talented and beautiful family…and Mr. El DeBarge. Many of them have switched over to gospel music as they have given their lives and hearts over to the Lord. He is the great healer…and the remover of all pain. Thank you again…and thank you for your comment. I am sure they enjoy reading what each of you have to say…and also the hits to their various web sites…

  • 16. Dr. Tasha Richardson  |  April 19, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Your open confusion and comparison of HOMOSEXUALITY with PEDOPHILIA is DISGUSTING and UNGODLY. There is an incredible difference between a person who sexually abuses and child and two adults that share a consenting, healthy, and positive love for one another. It is sad that these two things are so confused together with some people- and by the way, the vast majority of pedophiles abuse BOTH girls and boys- they are NOT “gay” they do not go after grown-ups, this an entire different situation and it is unacceptable to compare it to being gay. That is a miseducation, and regarding your stories of lesbanism, you can believe what ever you want but the JESUS and GOD I believe in loves everyone (as you stated, thankfully) and by the way he never said anything bad about being gay; all that people quote is in the First Testament book of Leviticus- a moral code for the Jews thousands of years ago that included to not eat meat with diary and to not eat shellfish. People need to educate these topics, and I would suggest the book “What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality” as it provides and unbiased historical and textual analysis of these frequently mis-appropriated pastures.

    It is very unfortunate if this family went through this pain, but to say that it is a gay issue is WRONG and it is probably the reason why their pain was instigated and lead to even more issues. If people could educate themselves it would help.

    • 17. bsmith101  |  April 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm

      I would seem that somewhere along the line you have mis-understood what I said. I would never compare someone who sexually abuses and mis-uses children with anyone gay, lesbian or homosexual. Myself having come out of homo-sexualism…I know full well that homosexuals have no love for pedophies. They neither regard them as one of them…or as friends…or compadres.
      Oh, no…quite the opposite.

      To be sure most pedophies are what most people would call ‘heterosexuals’….but they like… rather very much enjoy indulging in sex with children. R. Kelly was a very clear and good example of this. Most people…and perhaps even himself…would classify him as being ‘straight’ and not gay. Yet for years he has been known to indulge with very young girls. And had it been with young boys…then they may have said he was ‘gay.’ But the truth of the matter…is he would have been a man…living his life as heterosexual…and perpetrating on young boys. This is typically the ‘MO’…method of operation…of men who seek out children. They usually are married in many cases…might even have children of their own…as was the case of the DeBarge father…but seek out children for their perverse acts. And as in the case of the DeBarge family…some of these men…marry women to breed with them…only to have within the confines of their own home children that they can abuse. This was the case of that Alabama preacher who killed his wife and dumped her body in deep freezer in their mobile home for 4 years…while he went around preaching and yet raping his own children as well.

      So, yes…I agree with pedophilia is disgusting and highly ungodly. Though I do not, however, agree that sex among the same sex is not without sin either…even if the 2 agree. I lived the life…I know it first hand. When I was in sin…I was in sin. At the time I did not think that I was living in sin…because God never ceased to bless me. But He had a purpose for my life…and it was greater than the sin I was in. He also had a master plan…and that plan was that He was going to call me out of that life. The Word of the Lord is clear. Today I walk in liberty. Though I have many gay women friends whom I love…it is my hope that one day God will open up their eyes and hearts as well…that they might also too come to walk in this liberty.

      So, I have no love for anyone who abuses anything…especially young children or women…or anything else. However, I do recognize, know and understand the difference between 2 consenting adults…and the blatant mis-use of innocence…and upsurbin power over them.

      • 18. ann  |  January 14, 2011 at 5:25 am

        HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SIN; HOWEVER, IT DOESN’T MEAN GOD DOESN’T LOVE THE PERSON, HE HATES THE SIN. That is very clear in the Bible. God made Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve.
        And wouldn’t the growth of population end, if he meant that same sex relationships were permissible?

      • 19. bsmith101  |  January 15, 2011 at 2:13 am

        I understand what you are saying. However, in the text of this story about the ill things done to the siblings within the DeBarge family… the issue is not 1 of homosexuality per-se. But of a father preying upon his children… both boy children and his daughters. And what that cost them… the shame that it brought about… and the paths that each of them took while trying to not only deal with what they father had done to each of them… but also trying to come to terms and trying to cope with it.

        Thank God He is who He is.

        Sometimes we get so caught up in our own issues that we tend to overlook the real picture. And I think that this is the case on your part.

        You are voicing outrage over homosexuality. And clearly it is a sin… unequivocally.

        You are entirely right. But….

        This story was not really about homosexuality… though homosexuality may… and was on some parts an outcome. But the bigger issue is the abuse of little innocent children. Children that grew up and became famous. Beautiful…gifted children who had a deep dark secret that they were forced to carry around with them.

        It was a story about demons… drug abuse… self-hate… and how people sitting on the outside see 1 thing and are totally ignorant of what is going on in the inside of other people.

        Thanks for the comment. Hopefully, this adds more light upon your take of my DeBarge family story on my blog page.

  • 20. Dr. Tasha Richardson  |  January 15, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Again I would suggest you both do yoru RESEARCH, the FACT is the Bible has been TRANSLATED and MIS-TRANSLATED for the past many centuries of it’s existence!! As for the pro-creationism comment by Ann, have you ever considered that God made gay people to help the over-populization and destruction of the planet? That He created gays to help make the world a more fabulous and beautiful place? Many gay people possess talents rarely seen in straight counterparts, have you not noticed? I have many close gay friends and from our conversations about their sexuality it all seems to root from the womb- being gay is NATURAL… the problem is people are so ostracized that they develope severe trama, which can cause a range of negative and self-harming behaviors in one’s life. And why would someone CHOSE to be apart of a group that is so vilafied? It is illogical.

    I am a proud Christian, I always have been, but I do NOT take the Bible literally and I do NOT pick and chose the scripture to QUOTE… also, Ann and B Smith both, do you know remember the part where it states that women are not to speak from the pulpit?? And did you wear two different kinds of thread today? And all sins are equal in their weight… hmmmm….

    • 21. bsmith101  |  January 19, 2011 at 10:37 pm

      Dear Doctor… In re-reading your comment I see where I did not address your whole issue.

      In fact, I think I may have misinterpreted a part or two.

      Going to the issue of homosexuality. No, I do not believe nor have I ever believed that God created homosexuals to aid in relieving an ever increasing population problem. That would be absolutely ludicrous. Particularily since it was He who said…. ‘be fruitful and multiply.’

      Secondly, if God wanted to restrain the growth of the world’s population He would not create that which He is totally against to do it with. And being the woman of God you say you are… you would definitely have to know that.

      God says that homosexuality is an abomination to Him. And yes… we can argue about who wrote the Bible and how it may have possibly been mis-quoted or understated… or re-written numerous times. But you know what?

      The Bible says…that God is not the author of confusion. Perhaps, even this you would argue with me as being wrong.

      But the Bible also says… that we should not lean to our own understanding.

      Let me just say as well… and I mean no harm. But if you have read any of my blogs… and even in this 1 I clearly state that I had lived the life for which you argue on behalf of. I was a lesbian. Some might even say ‘a card carrying lesbian.’ I was on the Board of Sala Soul Sisters, the oldest lesbian organization of women of color in the world. I still have many friends who are still in the life… ex-lovers and the like. But 1 thing I am sure of… and you should be too… God can and does set the captives free. Thank God for His precious gift to this world. I now walk in liberty…but I once was bound. I had chains and didn’t know it. Yoked and didn’t have a clue. But thank God I am free. And He did it… not me or anybody else… God did it.

      To the points you make about taking the Bible literally… Let me inform you… whether you do today or not. But 1 day you too will know that God’s word is true and it does not matter who wrote it. When God controls your minds, your will…and your throughts towards getting his things done. You will do it…and as He says… ask Jonah.

      There is nothing about being gay that is natural. The first thing you have wrong… is this. You consider yourself merely in sexual terms. Forget about ‘homosexuality’ … or ‘hetersexuality’ … or ‘I’m bi-sexual.’ All this stuff is tricks of the enemy. And anyone who speaks of himself or herself in sexual terms in regards to who or what they are …is living in the flesh. But we are no creatures made to live following after our flesh…. not after the Spirit. Which is in Christ Jesus.

      I wish you well and that you come to a clear understanding of God’s will for you… and how you should live. I do understand as I too was once deceived and would have argued these very points as well. But 1 day God brought me into the light. And I no longer live in darkness.

      I have ears that hear ….and eyes that see. Thank you for sharing with me…and allowing me to share with you. I pray God’s blessings upon you… as I believe you love Him. I know that He loves you.

      But no 2 can walk together truly unless they agree.

      You must find somewhere where there is sound teaching… so that you may come to have sound understanding of what is God’s good and perfect will. It will make a difference. I love you… and I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

  • 22. Tiger  |  February 23, 2011 at 11:09 pm


    thanks for the great story. i had such a good read. i really want to go on about what i think and the great points you stated earlier in the peice. But all n all..great!

    I only recently heard of the debarge so interested and obsessed with their music..which lead me to wonder more about their lives…


    • 23. bsmith101  |  February 23, 2011 at 11:31 pm

      Happy that you enjoyed what I had to say. Thank you for being so kind. And I am glad that you love their music… they really were a very great group… and highly talented. Today some of them have ventured off into gospel music… and of course, writing books. Imagine if they were to come back together as a gospel group. Wow…. Well, God bless. And thanks again.

  • 24. harlem week speaks out  |  August 12, 2011 at 2:26 am


    • 25. bsmith101  |  August 12, 2011 at 6:52 am

      You are so right. One never knows what horrors that others go through.

      It is a wonder that mentally they were able to survive the level of abuse that they all went through at the hands of their father. And would find it hard to really believe that their mother could not have known.

      Thank you so much for your comment.

  • 26. Valisa C  |  September 22, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Just want the Debarge family to know that Jesus loves you just the way you are. He will not leave nor forsake you. Keep your head up, and continue to encourage one another. There is nothing wrong being in the spotlight. But, if you want to be the light of the world, that will light up this dark world. Thats a good thing. Let your light so shine, so those that are in darkness can be draw to it. God Bless you all. Love Valisa

    • 27. bsmith101  |  September 28, 2011 at 10:14 am

      Wonderful encouragement.

      It is good to know that they know the Lord. And have sought Him for their healing and deliverance to triumphover thus thing.

  • 28. planner10  |  September 24, 2011 at 3:02 am

    Thank you for the update and information on the Debarge family. The father does not come out. He needs to tell his family that he is sorry for the pain that he put them thru. The children also at their ages should all be moving on with their lives because they have their own children to raise now and support. I too came from disfunctual background in the church but I am not a drug addict or alcoholic. We all need to pick ourselves up from childhood and get on with out lives. We live for today not yesterday!

    • 29. bsmith101  |  September 28, 2011 at 9:50 am

      The father, Robert DeBarge, Sr. is now deceased. And as a far as his children go…he scattered their lives as young children…but as adults who have come to grips with their pass wounds…they have moved on.

      El recently released something new. Bunny wrote a book about their pain and the darkness which surrounded them. She has henced become not only a mother and author…but a true and very strong woman of God. Likewise, James who was once married to Janet Jackson…since has become saved.

      It is interesting how God can turn something so ugly into such beauty. Clearly, they were and are a handsome family…filled with talent and awsome voices. Happily today for the most part the pain has been erased. And the wonderful gifts that God has endowed them with are being used for His glory.

    • 30. bsmith101  |  September 28, 2011 at 10:10 am

      The father, Robert DeBarge, Sr. is now deceased. His children have moved on.

      Bunny is not only a mother but author. It is in my blog about her book, THE KEPT ONES. Which is a tell all book, Bunny tells of what went on while they were young children.

      El has released something new. And James is saved now…and like Bunny very strong in the Lord.

      God is a healer…of every kind wound.

      Thanks for the comment.

  • 31. Crystal  |  October 6, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I was born in 82 so I don’t remember much about DeBarge back then, but I know my mother was a huge fan and looking at the interviews and reading the books about the fame, struggles, and addiction I think they should consider making a movie about the DeBarge family. They have over came a lot of things and have made great music over the years and I feel they should share there story on film. God has really brought them a very long way.

    • 32. bsmith101  |  October 7, 2011 at 8:24 pm

      Truly, Crystal…God has brought them a mighty long way. And it was not easy.

      Can’t imagine how messed up I would be if I had had to endure what they went through at the hands of their very own father. It is amazing that none committed suicide.

      But the fact that the father name sake, Robert DeBarge, Jr…died from AIDS should have been enough to have even brought such a terrible man down to his own knees…and begging for forgiveness. But it was not so.

      And yes, you are right. I understand that talks and even plans have begun to bring their story to the big screen.

      The Bible says that we are overcomers through our testimonies. Bunny broke the silence…and stated in the Blogradio interview that many of her siblings fell out with her because of it. But in the end…because she was brave enough to do so…and to do so while their father was still alive…it removed the burden of fighting allegations of whether or not her story was true. But also opened the door for all of them to begin to speak of the abuse that they suffered. Thus, healing was allowed in…and the veil of secreacy and shame was removed.

      It was not their fault. The way many children often feel after they too have been taken advantage of. And go for years carrying the burden that they themselves had done something wrong.

      We pray for the DeBarges and every child that has ever gone through something. And sadly to say…many of them are dead…because whoever was abusing them didn’t want them to live to tell the story.

      Thank you, Crystal for your comment.

  • 33. Tina  |  November 19, 2011 at 1:37 am

    I would just like too say as a little girl i remember watching the premire of “The rythym of the night”, i played it until i fell asleep! And when i woke up i danced while getting dressed for school, couldn’t get it out of my mind. Experincing mental, physical, and sexual abuse as well, I can understand the need for escape, i never indulged in alcohol or drugs, but i too looked for love and have children by different men, like EL, i was pegnant with my first child when I was 15! People don’t understand what that kind of abuse does too your mind, in the stage of puperty is hard enough, but when your body is not ready, it forces it self which alters the very nature of your sexual make up espeacially when it’s the same sex stealing your innocence, i never knew that they were abused, but i always knew there was something feminine, their masculinity was stolen, in the process of the pain you try too prove too yourself, I’m not this way, but it’s what you know, it’s what was instilled in you, the most of our learning begins at a young age, it trully sets the stage of the foundation you will or will not build on. My situation was that of a different nature cousins and uncles raped me, and they were agrressive, which I never knew what it was like for a man too be gental, now i’m not gay, bi, or anything of that nature, but i did at one time wonder what it would be like too be with another woman, i never did, and i don’t think of it anymore. i hope that EL, if you read this you can, know that it was not your fault, it was and is not your sickness, you can burn those memories, and replace them with new positive ones, and don’t pass on the sickness too your children, you can heal and cleanse that little boy inside, change your social circle, stay away from those old peolpe and places, take a longer route, STAY BUSY WITH GOD AND YOUR KIDS!!!!!!! I married a drug addict, and separated from him after 5 years of his abuse, i know through his addiction the pain that it caused me and our children, you were always my favorite, AND YOUR ARE TOO FINE AND TOO TALENTED, TOO THROW YOURSELF AWAY!! I heard your back with your wife, I HOPE SO!!!! There are too many fine men turning the ropes for double dutch, PLEASE STOP THE MADNESS, FINE WOMEN LIKE ME WANT TOO BE MARRIED TOO HANDSOME MEN!!! I’m not yelling, it’s bad enough too see a gay ugly man, but you and your brothers are just edibily fine!!! Ok, and by the way all this time I thought ya’ll were ESPANOL!!!!!LOL, on the real your song a second chance makes me cry in a good way, too emerge from the pain of our past defines who we are and what we can become!!!! EL, burn those past fears and live your song, because only you can stop the rythym of your melody!!! I will always be your fan, please don’t leave again, remind the people of what a song really feels like, the embodying of ones inner strength too not only survive, but too win, looking forward too purchasing all of your and your family future Cd’s!!! Yours trully before and always, Mrs. Devoted Fan!!!

    • 34. bsmith101  |  November 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm

      Of all the responses written I can truly without even thinking about it say that your’s is one of the most beautiful. I not only hope that EL reads it but all of them including others outside of the DeBarge family.

      Wow…you have spoken a mouthful. I am at awe of you and what you have written. Continue to be encouraged. I like you and the DeBarge’s was abused too. Though I was never abused by anyone within my family I do know the thoughts, the doubts, the feelings that come with sexual abuse.

      I clearly recognize how sexual abuse upon young children will mark them one way or another for life. Though they may never speak of it.

      God bless you, and thank you for your marvelous insight and beautiful words of encouragement to the DeBarge family. And yes, they do and have read this blog. They will take joy in hearing from you share with them…and us all your own pain. Thank you so much.

  • 35. Shawn  |  December 30, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Really? Do you have a life or what? SMH!!!

    • 36. bsmith101  |  January 23, 2012 at 11:37 pm

      I have no idea as to what you are responding to.

      But since you asked…of course I have a life if I didn’t I would not be able to respond back.

      And what a life it is.

      Thanks for your comment.

  • 37. Michelle  |  December 30, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    I love this family!! Im a early 70’s baby so ive listened to all of their works….so glad that you guys are finding closure to all the pain in your lives….I LOVE YOU ALL!!! would love to hear you all on the radio again!!!! DEBARGE FAN FOR LIFE!!!!

  • 38. tanya P Riley  |  February 11, 2012 at 2:59 am

    Amazing, a forgotten moment in time now brought back because of the search for the song ‘Love Always’. The face and talented will forever linger in my memory. They will be forever loved in a special way for their uniqueness. And in reading the trial and problems they had to face, which person on this earth could truely said that their live has been without blemish, not one, and that is why there is the love of Christ. Through grace to right our wrongs. Also it is especially hard for those in the public eyes because view grossip whether is is true or not and they wait for the mistakes or problems. Like my grandmother use to say, ‘the good u do no one remembers but the bad u do no one forgets’, But in time i have learn that the mistakes made were a learning experience and in stil living many times make one stronger. the past can not be changed, but the present, as long as this is life, can use the past as a guide line to make the future not perfect but a lot better or more possive. No sin is greater than the other, therefore we are all guilty on one accord. So pray for me and i will pray for u to keep us on the right track.
    Love Always
    with the Love of Christ

    • 39. bsmith101  |  February 14, 2012 at 1:00 am

      Thank you very much for your response. I am sure that the family appreciates all your love.

    • 40. bsmith101  |  February 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm

      Thank you, Tanya…definitely I will pray for you and me…and, of course, the DeBarge family and anyone else going through whatever it is. Oftentimes we find ourselves in a strange place wondering how to get out. It is God who is able to bring us out of whatever the situation…and He is strong enough to sustain us. He is God…and there is nobody like Him.

  • 41. Nonya  |  March 18, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Wow. You’re really ignorant–stupid even. To say the men in DeBarge were ‘sweet.’ Come on! They were preyed upon. Raped. Molested. That does not make them gay. Try reading a book and growing enlightened.

    • 42. bsmith101  |  March 18, 2012 at 3:34 am

      I am really not a person who allows people to talk to me just any kind of way. But I will choose to forgive you this once because I realize that you did not clearly understand my blog if you believed that I was speaking badly about the DeBarge family and not that in the the blog I was lamenting my own early thoughts of them when they were a Motown musical group.

      In light of this info perhaps you should my blog on them again…and you might read it realizing that I felt bad about my then thoughts and also the abuse that they had to endure.

  • 43. katie  |  August 10, 2012 at 10:52 am

    May God continue to bless this family

    • 44. bsmith101  |  August 10, 2012 at 7:46 pm

      Truly…and lets keep them all lifted up in our prayers.

  • 45. Angel  |  September 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    My prayers go out to the remaining family member and I know God will do the miraculous. It is hard to hear God will do this and will do that when all this pain they endured happened will trying to establish a relationship with the Lord. I had to realize that as life happens, and it does, our God has not forsaken us. Bless you for the info on the family and I feel like you did an awesome job of staying bias while helping the family move past the pain and hurt!

    • 46. bsmith101  |  September 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      Well, I thank you very much for you kind compliment to me. But it is not I but people like you who love and care about them which has helped them so much. It is not everyday that you find out just how much people really love you…not only what you do or did…or are doing. But you…and they have come to know that through comments like yours.

      Thanks again for your lovely comment.

  • 47. Gina  |  September 6, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I agree with a previous poster that you sound extremely ignorant with your assumption that the DeBarge men must have been “sweet”. A falsetto voice does not make a man gay.

    As your irrational diatribe continues, you confirm my assumption of your total ignorance. I guess anyone can become a “blogger”, but a true journalist realizes that assertions must be supported by fact.

    Although you, in your own long-winded fashion, later admit and describe your many incorrect statements, and try to justify them, a true journalist knows to never inject opinion into news. And since you included so many “news” facts and photos, I can only assume you intend this blog to be taken seriously.

    I happened upon this blog by accident, and thus don’t know anything about its mission or author. As such, it is doubtful that I return.

    • 48. bsmith101  |  September 7, 2012 at 4:33 am

      Well, Gena…the context of this blog is really about me being highly apologic regard my past attitude and preception of the DeBarge’s. I was young…though bad behavior at any age is still bad behavior. But there is something about hearing about other people’s pain that can open up your eyes to look deeper into who they really are. I was looking at something then and thought it funny…I had no idea what laid under the surface.

      And my thoughts had nothing to do with their voices. But I do sincerely apoligize about that time in my life when my thoughts were very warped, limited, hurtful and unkind.

      I hope that cleared that up for you. Thanks for your comment. I am sure that they love reading from fans like you who are willing to take me on…and I don’t mind. Every now and then we all could use a little chastising. So, thanks again for your comment.

    • 49. bsmith101  |  January 16, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      Who told you that most bloggers are ‘true journalist?’

      It is not hard for me to believe that everyone will not agree with me. But I do believe that we can all agree on the fact that the life the DeBarge had while growing up was not good nor easy.

      But I thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to zip through my blog…and assess that I am deranged…cold hearted…and can’t write. I will have to read something of yours…perhaps I will find it to be more or less the same.

      Thank you for your comment. And I mean that…because you hated it enough you thought enough to write me. Wow… Now, that is something..

      And by the way… I never said that I felt that the DeBarge’s were ‘sweet’ because of their voices. Now, that I ponder what you have written… I really don’t think you truly read my blog at all…

  • 50. donna smith  |  September 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I saw El debarge last year and I fell in love with him all over again. I will keep the family in my prayers.

    • 51. bsmith101  |  September 7, 2012 at 4:24 am

      Quite handsome. They all are and perhaps that is what really made their stories even more special. To be so beautiful on the outside and dealing with such pain on the inside.

      I’m sure he probablly got a kick out you. Hope you were able to say ‘hi.’

    • 52. bsmith101  |  January 16, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      He is back on his feet…looking good and singing great. I hope that his inner being is doing just as well too.

      Keep them lifted up in your prayers…

  • 53. vana  |  October 15, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I just want to thank you for posting all those wonderful pictures. I’m not a Christian so can’t relate too much of the content that you have written, but I sense you are a honorable and courageous person who wants to take the right road, the non judgemental humane road. If we all could only live by the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, there would be no crimes against nature. Forgive yourself for laughing at others when you were young and learning, we are all guilty of some sort of thoughtlessness or cruelty. The important thing is that we learn and grow and reach out to others and I feel that’s what you were doing in this blog.

    • 54. bsmith101  |  January 16, 2014 at 10:45 pm

      Wow, thank you, Vana…

      Life is a growing experience. Sometimes when young we don’t quite understand things. But then this even happens as we get older.

      We never know what people are going through even though they may appear happy, whole and have everything.

      Who would have guessed the horrors that the DeBarge family children endured?

      In looking at them we never saw what things were going on in their family as they grew up and continued to happened to them all. Though I can reflect now on my giggles and pointing of fingers…it is sad to believe I never once stopped to look deeply into their eyes… or even cared to do so. Cause clearly the pain was there…

  • 55. teresa caots  |  April 13, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    I love you”De Barge family” you will always be in my prayers. It hurts me so much to know what your family went through. I am so proud of you that you are dealing with it and letting God, the lover of your soul heal you from the inside out. Love you always.
    PS: El you are so darn fine; even at 50, God has really blessed you I believe it is because you give him the glory. I pray that I meet you some day. I would like to give you a big long hug.

    Teresa Coats

    • 56. bsmith101  |  April 14, 2013 at 12:11 am

      It is great reading how much love each of you have for the DeBarge family.

      And thank you all for sharing all that love here…and I know for sure that all of your encouragement and love means oh so much to each and every one of them too.

      It aids in the healing to know that they are still loved…and none of what happened was their fault.

      • 57. Louise Hardison  |  May 19, 2015 at 10:09 am

        I like many of the readers of this blog have neen a fan of DeBarge from day one that they emerged onto the music scene. I had the biggest crush on El my heart just flutters anytime one of his songs is playing on the radio. I have been watching many of El’s interviews and listens to many of there songs on YouTube which is great for many of us who are fans. I will continue to be a fan of El’s and Chico as well as pray for the family. I hppe and pray for their continued stregnth.

      • 58. bsmith101  |  May 19, 2015 at 5:52 pm

        I am sure they all apprecuate each of you.

        It speaks volumes when you are no longer in the studio…and your deeprst and darkest secrets are exposed to the world, and people just love on you like it was yesterday. And offer up prayers in your name.

        It must make them smile. Because I know they have read this blog.

        That’s love. And yes, the DeBarge fans still love them…their sound…style…and vocal harmonizing. Their song stick to you.

        Even through the hard times it is a amazing…they stuck with each other.

        They were…and are family. And are a part of our families….and history too.

        Thanks for the comment…..

    • 59. bsmith101  |  January 16, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      I am sure that Bunny, El and all of them thank you for your loving and kind words.

      The good part is many of their lives have drifted far from the pain and sorrow of the past, and they are moving forward.

      God has truly blessed them. And they have shared a most profound and sorrowful story with the whole world.

      That is hard to do…unless healing takes place. I thank God for his grace and mercy …and healing on their behalves…

      Thanks for the comment….

  • 60. Diana  |  June 24, 2013 at 8:48 am

    It’s been years since I’ve seen Marc, James and El, El, we spend a hole night talking about life before you went to California..When the Muskegon sisters visited.GR. I’ve prayed for your family along time and will continue to. All The Best to you All and your Wonderful Mother


    • 61. bsmith101  |  January 16, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      Thanks for the love… I am sure they appreciate you.

  • 62. cecy  |  July 24, 2013 at 1:51 am

    you just rambled on and on, and not once said what the debarge family went through

    • 63. bsmith101  |  July 24, 2013 at 12:48 pm


      You are the only person out of ALL the comments on this blog who has ever said that…including the news sources which picked up the DeBarge family story from this blog.

      Perhaps you should read it again… But I do thank you for your comment nonetheless.

      • 64. Cyb101  |  May 10, 2016 at 12:49 am

        I’m sorry. I have to agree. This was so annoying to read. It was all about you.

      • 65. bsmith101  |  May 10, 2016 at 10:47 am

        I’m sorry you were so annoyed. But this blog was not all about me. It was, however, about my shallow preception about a recording group I had joked about.. laughed at… and enjoyed their music but hadn’t a clue about who they really were or the things they had been forced to endure within their own homes.

        So, this blog was my critique on small minded people who are quick to find fault and/or laugh at others without knowing their pain.

        But thanks for your comment I appreciate it.

      • 66. bsmith101  |  June 28, 2016 at 8:50 pm


        I never noticed…

  • 67. DEEDEE  |  May 11, 2014 at 8:29 pm


    • 68. bsmith101  |  May 12, 2014 at 6:47 am

      The devil is a destroyer. He tried to destroy them all….but God said ‘no.’

      Considering what they were forced to endure at the hands of their own father…. it is really amazing how any of them has managed tty o survive it as any type of whole or sane person.

      And yes you are right….they were and still are quite a handsome family….not to mention talented as well…

  • 69. Sperry  |  December 31, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Is this article about you are the DeBarge family I clicked on the article to read about the DeBarge family tragedy not you.

  • 70. Susan  |  December 1, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    this article seemed more from an angle of an envious and obsessed fan rather than someone truly regretful for laughing at a group or men being effeminate. it is not as if they know you.
    sounds like you have a LOT of healing and work to do to get your insides straight.
    it is heartbreaking the damaged unhealed souls can do, especially when they are parents. while this family continues to struggle in their rebuilding, we wish them freedom from past hurts.
    i wish that for you as well. freedom from envy camouflaged as concern.

    • 71. bsmith101  |  January 18, 2017 at 6:45 pm

      It appears that you read what you wanted to read into what I wrote.

      It is quite unusual to have someone call me envious or mean… even unconcerned and that I am camouflaging garbage dealing what to me is a really tragic and quite sad story of a family… and children stripped of their innocence.

      I assure you that it was definitely not my intent. But I thank you, nonetheless, for your comment. Because, who knows… it is quite possible that someone or others may share some similar opinion… which was truly not my intent…

  • 72. Jamie bell  |  June 17, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Religion isn’t the answer. ITS just a distraction and another tool to keep us separated. Research some things please.

    • 73. bsmith101  |  July 18, 2017 at 12:46 am

      I think the family members of the DeBarge family would greatly disagree with you.

      Many have found solice and forgiveness in the Lord, for the things which happened to them. And have managed to pick up the pieces and regain control over themselves, and their lives through a fervent relationship with our Lord God.

      He never goes out of style. Nor is there anything which God cannot overcome…

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