Why have Gospel artists like Lecrae, Aaron Cole, Natalie Grant, and TV personalities like Ricky Smiley aligned themselves with Kirk Franklin? It seems that accusations of censorship and racism have caused all of them to band together against the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards.
The drama began in 2016 when Franklin spoke out against the police brutality on a live broadcast of the awards. He called for unity amongst ALL Christians and encouraged them not to be divided. Franklin believed this was a moving moment that would advent change; however, the award show edited it out of his speech. At that point, Franklin expressed his disappointment and disbelief. It seems that history has repeated itself at the 2019 Dove Awards. Franklin won an award and asked for prayers for Atatiana Jefferson. Jefferson, a Ft. Worth resident, was killed by a white police officer in her home while playing video games with her eight year old nephew. And of course, when the award show aired, the speech was omitted. Was it censorship or editing?
Franklin has called for a boycott of the awards by posting a video on Youtube. Jackie Patillo, the GMA President, responded with this statement, “Although completely unintentional, we understand it caused great harm and deeply wounded many in the African American and Gospel community. As well, it left a general perception that we are not concerned with key social issues that affect people of color. It is not our intent to disregard or silence any of our artists, and we are deeply saddened by this perception and are committed to change this.”
Hopefully, they will come with a resolution.