It’s been nearly two years since Kirk Franklin’s Gospel Artist of the Year acceptance speech at the 47th annual GMA Dove Awards challenged fellow Christian music artists to help promote racial healing. With recent studies proving that Americans view racism as a “big problem” in the nation, can Christian music help heal racial divides?
The number of Americans who view racism as an issue in the country has doubled since 2011, according to the Pew Research Center. In findings released last August, Pew revealed that 58 percent of Americans now view racism as a problem, up from 28 percent six years ago.
In 2016, Franklin, the recording artist, composer and head of the Fo Yo Soul Recordings gospel music label, received a standing ovation at one of the biggest award shows in Christian music when he prayed that industry peers would come together as believers to “control the narrative” concerning racism.
“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 are saying something,” Franklin said at the Dove Awards in 2016. “I beseech you brothers in a spirit of humility, at our concerts, in our churches, I beg of you, let’s ask the people that we are accountable and stand in front of — let’s do it like Nineveh — and ask the people to pray with us for racial healing. Let’s don’t stay silent on it.”
Jackie Patillo, president and executive director of the Gospel Music Association who puts the Dove Awards together, remembers the moment well.
“I couldn’t have scripted that. It was a powerful moment,” she told The Christian Post. “I was grateful that he was willing to address his music community and the world in such a bold, significant way. We are the light of the world, we are supposed to not be afraid to address any issue.”
The message proved to resonate with the Christian music community in instances like contemporary Christian music singer Mandisa using a portion of Franklin’s speech in her song “Bleed the Same.”
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Source: Christian Post