Gospel Singer Kirk Franklin Boycotts Awards After He Says They Censored His Speech About Police Brutality

Dallas native Kirk Franklin received the Outstanding Gospel award earlier this year at the NAACP Image Awards.EXPAND
Dallas native Kirk Franklin received the Outstanding Gospel award earlier this year at the NAACP Image Awards.
Kevin Winter/Getty
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Dallas gospel singer Kirk Franklin took to Instagram on Monday to explain his decision to stop attending the Dove Awards, a celebration of Christian music. Franklin describes the awards as "the Christian Grammys."

Franklin explains in the video that during the 2016 Dove Awards, he called out the "civil unrest" plaguing the country at the time with the killings of Philando Castile and Walter Scott by white police officers. He says he also called out the killings of five Dallas police officers by Micah Xavier Johnson, who was black.

"I called upon the audience to join me in remembering that as Christians when we say nothing, we're saying something," Franklin says in the Instagram video.

When his acceptance speech aired on the Christian network TBN, however, he says his call-out was edited out. He says he made his disappointment known and the Dove Awards promised it wouldn't happen again.

"In 2019, history repeated itself," he says in the video.

Franklin won another award in 2019 and in his speech, he says he brought attention to the murder of Atatiana Jefferson, the black woman shot in her home by a white police officer. Again, he says that part of his speech was edited out.

"I have made the decision after prayer, consultation with my team and my pastor, Dr. Tony Evans, to not attend any events affiliated with the Dove Awards, Gospel Music Association or TBN 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," Franklin says in the video.

Franklin explained at the beginning of the video that the Dove Awards celebrates Christian music, while the Stellar Awards celebrates gospel music, and "Christian" and "gospel" are typically synonymous with "white" and "black," respectively. He believes that might be why he was censored during the broadcast at the Dove Awards.

He says he's not asking others in the gospel community to follow his decision. But Christian rapper Lecrae posted his own video in response to Franklin's claims and says he won't participate in the Dove Awards either.

The Dove Awards posted a statement on Twitter where they apologized and linked to a video where Franklin's full acceptance speech can be heard.

"We accept the responsibility of our error," the statement reads. "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."

View this post on Instagram

My candid thoughts about @kirkfranklin

A post shared by lecrae (@lecrae) on

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.