Gospel star Kirk Franklin announced that he is boycotting Trinity Broadcasting Network, the Gospel Music Association, the Dove Awards and any of the organization’s affiliated events until they address issues of diversity.
Franklin charged in a Monday video statement on Instagram that TBN removed parts of his acceptance speeches from his 2016 and 2019 appearances at Dove Awards shows which advocated for racial justice and reconciliation. When he approached representatives from all the organizations about the situation, he said he was not provided a satisfactory response.
“I am aware that the word boycott often has a negative connotation and finality to it, but my goal will forever be reconciliation as well as accountability. It is important for those in charge to be informed. Not only did they edit my speech, they edited the African American experience,” Franklin charged.
“I’m not asking those in the Gospel community to follow my decision. No. This is my personal choice to take a stand and hold responsible those in positions of power to acknowledge the issues in our separate communities that have existed from colonialism to Jim Crow …. I pray there will be a significant change from this hurtful experience. I look with anticipation for that day of healing and I’m committed to contributing to that process. In the end we will not remember the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends,” he added.
Franklin explained that the experience made him “feel like quitting” and left him “heartbroken.”
“Today. I am heartbroken that I even have to share this with you. In 2016, I was blessed to win an award for Best Gospel Artist at the Dove Awards…. During that awards speech I felt the responsibility as a Christian and a man of color to address the civil unrest at that time that was plaguing our country with the killings of Philando Castile and Walter Scott just to name a few by white police officers. And at the same time, the horrific killings of five Dallas police officers by an African American. I called upon the audience to join me in remembering that as Christians, when we say nothing, we’re saying something,” Franklin explained.
“After a standing ovation we prayed, stood in unity for all the families affected by those tragedies. We all felt that moment that there was a shift in the climate of our separate worlds. Unfortunately, when that speech aired on the Christian network TBN, that part of my speech was edited out. I made my disappointment and frustrations known to the Dove Awards committee and to the Trinity Broadcasting Network. I never heard from TBN and the Dove Awards committee promised to rectify the mistake so that it wouldn’t happen again,” Franklin explained.
At the recently held Dove Awards show on Oct. 15, where Franklin won the Best Gospel Artist award, Franklin raised the killing of a 28-year-old black woman, Atatiana Jefferson, who was shot dead by a white police officer through her window while she was staying with her 8-year-old nephew.
“I am born and raised in Fort Worth Texas and we still live in Fort Worth, Texas, and this past weekend, a young 28-year-old lady, a young girl by the name of Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed in her home by a policeman and I’m just asking that we send our prayers for her family and for his and I’m asking that we send our prayers for that 8-year-old little boy that saw that tragedy and we just lift them up and I’m asking that you pray with us … just pray grace and mercy over their lives in the name of Christ our king,” he noted in a clip of his speech posted on YouTube.