Gospel Artists Join Kirk Franklin In His Boycott Of The Dove Awards After His Acceptance Speech Was Edited
Franklin began protesting the Dove Awards after he was censored for an acceptance speech that focused on the death of Atatiana Jefferson and police brutality.
October 29, 2019 at 8:07 pm
Update (October 30, 2019): Kirk Franklin is receiving support from fellow Christian artists including Lecrae, Mandisa and Jonathan McReynolds after announcing he was boycotting the Dove Awards.
Franklin accused the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards and the conservative Christian Trinity Broadcasting Network of editing out his comments about police violence during his 2016 and 2019 acceptance speeches, the Huffington Post noted.
The 49-year-old says he refuses to participate in any other shows affiliated with the Dove Awards, the GMA or TBN until they create “tangible plans” to “protect and champion diversity.”
The “I Smile” artist said the boycott was a “personal choice,” but other Black Christian musicians have expressed their support, the Christan Post reported.
Grammy and Dove-award winning rapper Lecrae commented on Franklin’s Instagram, “I only came cause you came. You know I’m out.”
According to the Huffington Post, McReynolds, another Dove-award winner, wrote “You know the rules of church: we don’t let nobody shout by themselves. #Present.”
Natalie Grant, a singer, praised Franklin.
“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,” she said.
Marvin Sapp, through a spokesperson, told the Huffington Post that he is joining Franklin’s boycott.
Franklin’s most recent acceptance speech was aired during the 50th Annual GMA Dove Awards on October 20 after being taped five days earlier. He won gospel artist of the year during the ceremony.
According to CNN, during his speech, Franklin also mentioned the murder of Atatiana Jefferson.
“Not only did they edit my speech, they edited the African American experience,” he said on Instagram.
This is not the first time the Dove Awards has edited Franklin’s speech, Blavity reported.
Similarly, in 2016, the gospel singer brought attention to the deaths of Philando Castile and Walter Scott.
Original (October 29, 2019): Kirk Franklin is protesting the Dove Awards after his acceptance speech, which spotlighted the tragic death of Atatiana Jefferson and police brutality, was censored.
The 50th Annual GMA Dove Awards aired on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) on October 20 after being taped five days earlier. Franklin took home the award for gospel artist of the year.
According to CNN, during his speech, the "I Smile" artist mentioned the murder of Jefferson in her home earlier this month by a white police officer. However, those parts of his speech were edited out during the airing.
In a post on Instagram, Franklin addressed the matter, saying, "I asked everyone in the audience and those viewing to join me in prayer for not only Atatiana’s family, including her 8-year-old nephew who witnessed the killing, but also for the family of the police officer. Last week, during the airing of the awards on the same network, again, that part of my speech was edited out."
"Not only did they edit my speech, they edited the African American experience," he added.
Similarly, during his Dove Awards acceptance speech in 2016, the gospel singer brought attention to the deaths of Philando Castile and Walter Scott.
Franklin said his mention of the two men was edited out, an issue he raised with TBN and the Dove Awards committee soon after. While TBN did not follow up with Franklin, the awards committee reportedly vowed that the incident would not happen again.
Having been burned twice by the Dove Awards, Franklin said he has made the decision to not attend any events affiliated with TBN, the Dove Awards and GMA.
"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," he said.
Jackie Patillo, president of the Gospel Music Association, later released a statement apologizing for the matter and placed blame on the short turn-around time needed for editing.
"We understand that many were disappointed because there were so many memorable moments and noteworthy portions of acceptance speeches absent," she wrote.
"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," she added.
In addition to making the unedited version available on TBN's on-demand service, Patillo also stated that board members of GMA and Franklin and his team have discussed solutions to implement moving forward.