Gospel megastar Kirk Franklin announced Oct. 29 he will boycott the Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) after his speech about a white cop who killed a black woman in her home was edited from his Oct. 15 acceptance speech. “Today I feel like quitting,” he said. “I am heartbroken that I even have to share this with you.”

During his video, the 21-time Dove winner also mentioned the five Dallas officers killed by a sniper in Dallas by a black man in 2016. “When police are killed, we need to say something. When black boys are killed, we need to say something. And when we don’t say something, we’re saying something.” 

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GMA Reaches Out

Speeches are edited due to time constraints in many cases. Gospel Music Association President and Executive Director Jackie Patillo quickly responded and was “deeply apologetic for the missteps that happened relating to the editing of Kirk Franklin’s Dove Awards acceptance speech.”

Additionally, they accepted responsibility for the misunderstanding and communicated it was unintentional. She asserted that it inflicted and troubled many in the African American and Gospel community by giving the perception of social issues that touch people of color aren’t relevant. “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.”

The Boycott Will Continue

“…until tangible plans are put in place to protect and champion diversity, especially where people of color have contributed their gifts, talents and finances to help build the viability of these institutions,” said Franklin.

An Outpouring of Love

Singer Anthony Brown presented Franklin the trophy for Best Artist at the Dove Awards. He told that it’s a very passionate topic, a topic we can’t avoid. Though it may be difficult to speak about and it may bring up lots of different emotions, it’s important that those of us in the Christian and Gospel communities all think about it. What Kirk said was not a Black thing, it wasn’t a White thing– it was a Christian thing,” said Brown. “What he spoke about was Christian and it had nothing to do with color… Whether it was intentional or unintentional for the Dove Awards to not air it, for TBN not to air it for the second time, it felt like there was a desire to silence what goes on within a particular community within our Christian community.” Contemporary singer Natalie Grant said. “Love and respect you so much. Thank you for using your platform to speak truth in love, and always with a spirit of humility. You’re consistently calling us toward unity.”

“Love and respect your stance, respect and character evidenced again by this,” said vocalist Tauren Wells, “Reconciliation is possible.”


Franklin asked people to join him in prayer. “I’m not asking those in the gospel community to follow my decision. No, this is my personal decision 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.”


About the Author

Corine Gatti-Santillo has spent two decades as an editor, investigative reporter and web content strategist; her work has appeared in The Christian Post, LifeZette and CBN, among other outlets. She is host of the program “Mom on the Right” on The Liberty Beacon TV. She and her husband, Rocky, live in Virginia with their infant daughter and yellow lab Maggie.


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