Yesterday, Kirk Franklin uploaded a video to his social media that explains why he is boycotting the GMA Dove Awards. After winning Gospel Artist of the Year in 2016, he gave a rallying cry for racial unity in his acceptance speech. He brought the room to applause and prayed. That whole portion of his speech was edited out from the televised portion of the show.
When this occurred, he met with GMA and they assured him it was a misstep and that it would not happen again. Three years later, he wins the award again and makes a similar anthemic speech – the same result. His speech was edited. For this, Franklin is done. He said he will no longer attend events by TBN, GMA, or the Doves until African Americans and diversity are championed as people who helped build the “viability” of these very platforms.
Artists such as Lecrae, GAWVI, Aaron Cole, nobigdyl., Reconcile, and Skrip showed their support.
Watch Kirk Franklin in his own words below:
Jackie Patillo, President & Executive Director of the Gospel Music Association, responded with a letter on their website. Below is an excerpt:
With that said, we would like to publicly acknowledge that we are deeply apologetic for the missteps that happened relating to the editing of Kirk Franklin’s Dove Awards acceptance speech. We accept the responsibility of our error. 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.
Members of the GMA board and executives spoke with Kirk and his team this past Friday to discuss solutions that we are currently working to implement moving forward. We will be highlighting those initiatives at a future date. Joining our efforts, TBN has made the unedited version available on their VOD platform. You can watch it here. Additionally, all of our winners have received their full acceptance speeches to post and share on their platforms as desired.
Despite this statement, Kirk Franklin is moving forward because he heard this same thing last time. Hopefully, this time around, Franklin, along with other artists of color, can work together with the GMA to make the award show more inclusive.