Kirk Franklin is no stranger to the revolution.
Since first stepping on the scene in the 90s, Franklin uses his music to not only encourage and uplift God’s people but to motivate and uplift all people well. He ushered in a new style of gospel music that would crossover to other genres and challenge people to take up.
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Songs like “Stomp” and “Revolution,” where he boldly discusses real issues in America, don’t go unnoticed:
Lately I’ve been going through some things
That’s really got me down
I need someone, somebody to help me come and
Turn my life around
Sick and tired of my brothers, killin’ each other
Sick and tired of daddies leavin’ babies with their mothers
So every man that wanna lay around and play around
Listen partner, you be man enough to stay around
Sick and tired of the Church, talkin’ religion
But yet we talk about each other, make a decision
No more racism, two face-ism
No pollution, the solution
The same sentiments reside off-air, too.
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Just in 2019, Kirk Franklin announced that he would be boycotting Trinity Broadcasting Network and the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards because they edited out parts of his acceptance speech where he spoke about the death of Atatiana Jefferson who was shot and killed by police in her home. This was a repeat offense after they also cut his 2016 speech that shed light on racism and advocated for racial justice in America.
“Not only did they edit my speech, they edited the African American experience,” he said.
The following year, Dove Awards noticeably incorporated more diversity into the show, even titling the 2020 theme, “Carry the Change.” It was the same year Franklin won “Best Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year” for LONG LIVE LOVE, which carried his latest revolutionary single, “Strong God.”
The government keep lying to me
Telling me that they gonna set the people free
Cut the power phones when you catch us on our knees
Heaven please, we’re in a state of emergency
Just like in his other songs, Franklin stated real issues, called out the different leaders’ responses (or lack there of) and demanded action, setting a tone for change.
As we celebrate the music genius’ birthday today (January 26), take a listen to 7 revolutionary songs by Kirk Franklin below!