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Kirk Franklin boycotts Christian Awards over race row

It’s time to control the narrative! These are the words proclaimed from a place of humility in 2016 by Kirk Franklin, as he received the award for best Gospel Artist. He spoke from a place of love and empathy to the world. Calling for a shift in understanding. In a time where the news was saturated with the murders of black people at the hands of law enforcement. In a time where a black man had taken to the streets and taken the lives of multiple police officers. Kirk Franklin’s prayer was cut short during the live airing. This kind of thing is not uncommon in entertainment. But considering the sensitivity of this subject matter it was only right for him to raise his concerns. And he did with both the Dove Awards Committee and TBN. Dove assured him this was an error and it would not happen again. TBN remained silent.

Fast forward three years, during the airing of the 2019 awards ceremony last week. Kirk prayed for the families of Atatiana Jefferson and the family of the policeman who had shot her in her home. This prayer was also cut short during live airing.

In a time where there is so much unrest between the black community and the police. It is important for there to be more than anger. There is a need for healing.

TBN may have had advertising commitments to fulfil. But when you’re a Christian organisation with an opportunity to offer a moment of comfort to the broken… Are you saving souls or saving coins? Thankfully these prayers are available to hear online. But for those who had watched live, those who had hoped to hear some words of comfort they were left without.

TBN has declared its mission is to use every available means to reach as many individuals and families as possible with the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. Religion to many is becoming to look more and more like a business. And there has been a lot of good business made of the hope of many. During the Dove awards TBN failed to live up to its mission statement.

Gospel music originated on the plantation as a coping mechanism for disenfranchised Africans on the plantation fields. So for the Winner of BEST GOSPEL ARTIST to have a prayer to share its bound to be coming from a place of necessity and communal healing.

Franklin had a calling and that calling was silenced by the same people who gave him that platform to speak not once but twice. Those prayers as Kirk Franklin won best Gospel artist were his attempts to share the gospel and fulfil what he says is our duty as human beings to not say nothing. His words have been heard by me and hopefully many more. There is too much left unsaid. And there are too many voices not being heard. TBN were not accountable for the death of any of those Franklin wanted to pray for. They are accountable for how they choose to live up to their mission statement. Kirk was true to his words and has remained true. His statement today not only let the families know that he did have them in his mind. But also that there are forces at play even in the Lords house.

In situations like this people often turn to the bible and ask what Jesus would do. According to my recollection, when he Jesus entered the synagogue and saw that there was gambling happening in the place of worship… He went into a rage and kicked over the tables. I am not advising anybody to run into TBN headquarters and start kicking over tables. But holding them accountable for disrupting something as sacred as prayer. For placing anything above the spreading of the Christian message.

Written by Dare Dairo, Dope Black Dads

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With - Muyiwa

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