Music critic Kelefa Sanneh described Cleveland's multifaceted legacy: "For many listeners, the golden age of gospel ended on February 9, 1991, with the death of the Reverend James Cleveland. He was beloved for his warm, granular voice, and for the precise way that he combined huge choirs with muscular rhythm sections; he did as much as anyone to give gospel music its funk and its swing. A year later, in March, the magazine Jet complicated Cleveland’s legacy with a one-page article that bore the headline 'James Cleveland Infected L.A. Youth with HIV, $9 Mil. Lawsuit Claims.' The plaintiff was a man who said that he had had sexual encounters with Cleveland for three years, starting when he was a teen-ager, and the suit was settled quietly out of court. The allegation didn’t undermine Cleveland’s popularity—his fans had long since learned to ignore the whispers." After googling James Cleveland and reading the comments on his YouTube videos, it is clear that whispers, allegations, and homophobia did not stop with Cleveland's death. Thankfully, many scholars are doing important work that examines the complicated relationships among sexuality, music, performance, and religion. See, for example, Marlon Bailey's Butch Queens Up in Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit (2013) and E. Patrick Johnson's Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men in the South (2011).