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Gospel Artist Has Award Speech Edited to Remove Remarks on Police Violence — Again

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Kirk Franklin via Instagram

In a lengthy Instagram video posted Monday, gospel artist Kirk Franklin said he is boycotting the Dove Awards and Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) after his Dove Award acceptance speech was edited to remove his remarks about police brutality — for the second time.

The Dove Awards are the top prizes in Christian music.

In the nearly four-minute video, Franklin first recounts that in 2016, in his speech accepting Best Gospel Artist, he spoke about the killings by police of Philando Castille and Walter Scott and the “civil rest at that time that was plaguing our country.” He said he felt a “responsibility as a Christian and as a man of color” to address the topic, and that the audience gave his speech a standing ovation and all prayed together.

However, when the awards show was shown later on TBN, that part of his speech had been edited out.

Franklin said he made his displeasure known to the Dove Award Committee and to TBN, and that he never heard back from TBN but the Dove Award Committee promised it’d never happen again.

But it did.

 

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Franklin won the Best Gospel Artist again, and again spoke on police violence, this time specifically about the police shooting of Atatiana Jefferson, who was killed in her own home by a white police officer who has since been charged with her murder. Franklin said that again, the audience stood with him, and again that portion of the speech was edited from the broadcast.

Franklin said he has met with the Dove Awards Committee and TBN and will not participate in any Dove Award, Gospel Music Association or TBN events until “tangible plans are put in place to protect and champion diversity.”

In a statement, the Gospel Music Association said they had to edit the broadcast down for time, but were “deeply apologetic for the missteps that happened relating to the editing of Kirk Franklin’s Dove Awards acceptance speech.”

“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,” the statement says.

The statement says the association had worked with TBN to post an unedited version of Franklin’s speech on its video on demand website, but the video does not appear to be on the site as of Tuesday evening.