Published on June 24th, 2019 | by Nicole Vear
Kirk Franklin’s Performance At The BET Awards Shows Why He Is Not The DJ Khaled of Gospel
With comparisons to DJ Khaled on social media (probably for his collaboration efforts and Master of Ceremonies approach to performance style), Kirk is indeed the best Christian hype-man. Kirk Franklin is God’s Spliff Star. Kirk, the multi-instrumentalist and songwriter is talented and his impact on the genre of gospel music is undeniable. He is Inspirational.
For his 2019 BET Award performance, Kirk brought on stage a trio of artists who embody the “come as you are” ethos in their artistic approach. Kirk’s ability to orchestrate this energy and harness the power of expression in others, made their performance collaboration a shooting star across the Microsoft Theater Stage.
Jonathan McReynolds’ sweet serenade and guitar strums arrested the theater’s attention. His stripped-down version of the hook to Kirk’s song “Love Theory” captured the softest side of the song’s meaning. The joy on Jonathan’s face became the joy in the atmosphere.
Erica Campbell joined him just as tenderly as any songbird would who heeded the sound of another already perched on a tree branch. The duet between her voice and Jonathan’s guitar and adlibs was the ultimate compliment.
After about 58 seconds, in comes Kirk. “Stomp” Kirk. “Melodies From Heaven” Kirk. “Smile” Kirk. “Revolution” Kirk. (Listed in case you forgot). Kirk’s musical ability is a reminder how dope Gospel music, Black folk’s spiritual music in general is. “Love Theory” in its groove and effect is the “I Want To Thank You” by Alicia Myers in 2019. Truthfully, his entire discography is.
By the time he enters the song’s bridge playing the piano, Kelly Price joins him with the gospel that rests in her vocal chords. This performance was a reminder of why the best of Black musical expression cannot be relegated to genres. The physicality of Kirk’s performance is key to how he executes a song and why it resonates. Kirk’s dance moves on stage, reminiscent of his Shiggy Challenge (Gospel Remix) choreography, has been in Kirk’s repertoire for his whole career.
Kirk Franklin is a musical gift. He coordinates and compliments, produces and praises, hypes and hip hop dances through his sets. His expression is a joyride spanning as far as his energy can go. Kirk makes spiritual love palatable and brings everyone on his rhythmic journey.