By Mark Ellis —
Venus L. Burton, aka rapper Booski Love, once slid through dark caverns of danger, lust and power in Los Angeles. She soared among the stars of the underground rap scene and survived the night — but only barely.
Then, in 2010, at the pinnacle of her career, Booski Love experienced a moment of clarity. She awakened from a daze and stared straight into eternity, where she saw her one true love waiting for her with open arms.
It was Jesus Christ — the lover of her soul – and she came to realize that, despite being raised in a Christian home by her single mother, and having strayed so far away from that upbringing into a lesbian life-style, Jesus had never left her side.
“Booski Love died that day and I became a true follower of Jesus, and I now work alongside my mother [Dr. VickiLee] in sharing the Good News with all who will listen,” Burton says.
Burton has written a book about her life called S.T.U.D. (A Shared Testimony of Unashamed Deliverance), and the book has been turned into a full-length Hollywood Movie, soon to be released. The film has the same name as the book.
Burton and her mother, Dr. Vicki Lee, speak openly about the extraordinary turn-around in their lives and how Venus felt isolated and confused by not having a father around. Trying to find fulfillment, Burton stepped into an alternative life-style and had a series of lesbian girlfriends, and even began to dress like a man.
Dr. Lee said she prayed for her daughter for 20 years, during which they were estranged for part of that time. Even when her daughter strayed into an alternative lifestyle she never gave up “believing God for a miracle.”
“I grew up in a single-parent home,” Burton recounts. “I dealt with a lot of abandonment issues. Not having a father figure, I always wanted to be a daddy’s girl.”
“During my high school years in Norwalk [part of Los Angeles], I was very rebellious and looking for love in all the wrong places. I was dealing with the whole peer pressure thing, and with not having a dad, I became angry.
“As a teen, I got into drugs and alcohol and then, right out of high school, I got into the alternative [lesbian] lifestyle. We make these choices and we choose to do things and so that was one of my choices because there I was accepted by that community and I got attention from them.”
Burton was still living at home, so she said she did originally did these things secretly, but soon it became harder and harder to hide her behavior from her mother and brother.
“The first girl that I kissed was my brother’s girlfriend,” Burton says. “That brought a lot of dysfunction to the family. I never knew that it would destroy the family as much as it did. But God reconciles and God put our family back together, but in the midst of that we all went through a lot.”
To numb her inner pain, Burton began taking crystal meth, pain pills, sniffed cocaine, and began drinking large amounts of Corona beer and Hennessy cognac.
“I was trying to find my identity and discover who I was,” she explains. “It was a time of intense pain for my mother.”
Burton’s mother watched the changes with growing unease: “Things started coming out about what her lifestyle was and then I began looking at her and I realized that she was dressing and looking like a boy,” Dr. Lee recounts.
“Then, one day, the scales came off and I looked at her and said, ‘You know who you are. You are not a man; you are a woman!”
“I was very rebellious,” Burton says. “I wanted to do what I wanted to do. I got to the point that I was working in the music business, and I wanted to go out on my own and live with my girlfriend. So I did.”
Early influences seem to be factors in Burton’s same-sex attraction. “I always say it doesn’t happen overnight. It was a seed that was planted a long time ago. My aunt was in ‘the life’ (lesbianism) and that was one thing that I hated. In fact, I hated it so much that I became it! As a little girl, I knew that my aunt was in that lifestyle. I’d always seen a difference in her, but still she played basketball and did those things, so I thought it was because she was a tomboy.
“But then, as I got older, in my early 20s, I actually went to a party and my brother Ken’s girlfriend and I we went to this party of a friend that I knew and that’s when I saw a woman on a woman, and it just blew my mind. So we began drinking and in the midst of that, as I said earlier, I made the choice to kiss my first girl, which was my brother’s girlfriend.”
Life became dangerous for Venus, and several times, women she associated with pulled guns on her.
“It’s only through the grace of God that I’m still alive today,” she says. “On one occasion, one of these women pointed a gun at me and I knew I was going to die. I could see my life flash right before me, but I believe that God sent another person — one of our friends inside the room where I was — and I was able to leave the house. It distracted her and she put the gun down and I ran out.”
Once she was mired in the lifestyle, it was hard to leave. “I was already in it, and the devil puts his hooks in you,” she notes. “I just had a lust, a thirst for it. I thought at the time, that’s who I was. I was comfortable in my own skin, so I believed I was living and enjoying that alternative lifestyle.”
As Dr. Lee watched her daughter from the sidelines, she sought the Lord. “We always had a communication, per se, but the main thing I did was that I prayed a lot,” she said. “I would hold all-night prayer meetings every Friday night, interceding for my daughter and my son, not knowing the full thing of my son, and I so dearly wanted the children to be saved and come in the Kingdom.
“The scripture that I stood on was Acts 16: 31, 32, which talks about the jailer who received the Lord and, at that time, he said that he and his house would be saved. So I said, ‘Lord you said that if I were to be saved, you’re also going to also save my children as well. So I stood on those verses and just believed God.”
The Lord brings transformation
Burton said her life radically changed after she moved back home.
“I was alone in my bedroom,” she recalls, “and I knew the Word of God as Mom always took us to church, and remembered, where it says in Revelation, that there is going to be rumors of wars and different signs, and then the Lord would be coming back.
“When I saw these things on the news on the news on national TV, I was afraid that God was coming back and I was not ready.
“I then heard a voice just as plain as you and I are talking, and He asked if I was to die tonight, where would I go? And at that moment, I knew I was going to hell. And so I repented for my sins and God met me in my bedroom, not at a church or at a function.”
When Burton emerged from her room, her mother immediately saw something was different. “When she came out, I saw some kind of a change. But, I’ve seen that change several times. As a pastor, I’ve seen the kids get ‘saved’ a lot of times as they would go up to the front and do the altar call, and yet still there was no fruit in Venus at that time. At first, I was wondering if she was really saved, but it did take some time for me to see the real change.”
“I had prayed and fasted for her for 20 years, and just before she got saved this time, one of the things the Holy Spirit told me was to look in her eyes and say, ‘Venus, you know, if you want to continue to do this, you can do so because the Lord spoke to me and said that He was going to wipe away all my tears and when I got to heaven. I’d be in the face of Christ and I won’t even remember you because of the presence of His glory.’
“I told Venus that she had a choice to make, because I knew that I couldn’t make her get saved. God has given us all a free will because we are not robots, so He’ll put before you, life and death, blessings and curses, and He’ll give you the choice.”
Dr. Lee prayed earnestly her daughter would choose life.
“It had got to the point when I said to her that this was it, because the rebellion and disrespect had got worse and worse, and I knew I couldn’t go on living like this much longer.”
“What she said was a reality check for me,” Burton says, “especially when she told me that she wouldn’t even remember me. Sometimes, we do things to hurt others because we’re looking for attention, or to fill a void, but not knowing that only God can fill that void. He’s the only one that can do that.
“When I realized that I was going to be in hell, the Holy Spirit was really working on me. And, I always like to say to those out there that are in ministry, love them with the love of God whether they’re in that lifestyle or drug addicts or prostitutes or whatever the sin may be. Love them with the love of God and watch God change them.”
Once Burton prayed for forgiveness and salvation, she was instantly delivered from wanting to sleep with a woman.
“There was no desire or any attraction for a woman, but it was a process on my outer appearance,” she explains. “All of the emotion on the inside, all the hurt, all the pain and the disappointments, the betrayal that I went through, and the things that I was feeling that affected my soul being hurt, God began that process and I was changed.”
Burton is attracted to men and would like to be in a relationship. “I’m looking for my Boaz,” she says.
Burton and her prayer warrior mother minister together, and among many other things, Burton is now a Gospel rapper, with a very different message.
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