Part 6 of the 10 things I wish I knew before I left Africa
My second of seven heroes is the man, the myth and the legend of the gospel music industry, Kirk Franklin.
Some time last year, I began a crusade to change my music listening habits. As opposed to most of my peers who choose tracks on the basis of the sound, I decided I would put the message in the music way above the sound of the music. Now, of course this is easier said than done and I have since backslid slightly. But, it was during this phase that I pretty much became a die hard fan of a gospel musician who goes by the name, Kirk Franklin.
Interestingly enough, Kirk isn’t even a singer. Most of ‘his songs’ are sung by a choir with him interjecting every so often with a message of hope and encouragement. In spite of that though, you are never in doubt it’s a Kirk track because, speaking for myself, very few gospel artists have moved me the way Kirk moves me. Below are seven things, I admire about this musical dynamo.
Seven Things I Love and Admire About Kirk Franklin
1) All of Him is There: I absolutely love performers who leave their egos at the door and put their hearts, minds, bodies and souls into the performance. When I see and hear, Kirk perform, I feel as though ALL OF HIM is there,and there is no other place on Earth and nothing going on other than Kirk trying to get his message and his music into your heart.
2) He Brings the Heat: As a consequence of his full commitment, Kirk performs with a helluva lot of energy. I think from the moment we heard Stomp (check it out at the end of this article), we knew that you don’t put Kirk’s music on so you can have a nice nap.
3) He Balances Things Out With Soul: As much as we all love, Stomp, Revolution and September, where would we be if Kirk didn’t have tracks like Imagine me where he talks about his insecurities and struggles. Kirk isn’t just an artist out to help you get your groove on. In every album there are slow, thoughtful tracks where Kirk speaks directly to you and tries to encourage you, lift up your spirits and help you feel a deep, divine, everlasting love.
4) His Music Sounds Good: Kirk’s music is always reflective of the sounds of the times. As opposed to some gospel artists who simply stick to ‘the old gospel sounds’ (which truth be told, are pretty great) Kirk injects the sound of the day into his music. In tracks such as Stomp and Lean on Me he even brings out the popular artists of the time to collaborate and make something beautiful.
If he isn’t doing that, he is collaborating with Toby Mac to create rock tracks that don’t have any chicken grease on them (his words, check out the video below) or Earth, Wind and Fire to do the HOTTEST remix of September EVER (video below) or even singing and composing tracks with the legendary Stevie Wonder. Kirk actually strives to meet the so-called secular world half-way in terms of his sound. The result: the best selling gospel artist.
5) He is Down to Earth: From watching and listening to his interviews (check out one below), to listening to his music, you can tell that Kirk is a human being and isn’t caught up in the hype surrounding himself. He views himself as a humble vessel that transmits pure energy and love throughout the world (Wow, my poetry be coming out today, I think I’ll need my own poetry recital when all is said and done )
6) He Struggled and Overcame and Tells Us About It: In ‘Imagine Me’ he spoke about his struggle with low self-esteem. The real shocker was when he discussed his addiction to porn, even when he was a gospel artist (check out the interview with his wife below). The fact that he had the courage to come out and talk about how he has messed up, gives him huge points in my book. Kirk is definitely one of my role models as I attempt to master and control the unending floodgate that is male sexuality.
7) He Boogies: Until I saw Kirk, I would never have thought that choir members over 25 were meant to dance, well at least not dance in a manner as fun and energetic and Kirk. Kirk is far from a young turk but you will still see him getting down in his videos. When I grow up, I wanna dance just like Kirk
As I said in the first post, I encourage you to have a look at who your heroes are AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHY THEY ARE YOUR HEROES so that you may begin to understand and take more control of yourself. Anything to add to the discussion, you know the drill, contact me or leave a comment below.
G.P. Are You With Me?
B. blesd. &. bles othaz,
Kirk Franklin featuring Salt- Stomp (Live Performance in 1997 on Letterman) : Play Now | Play in Popup | Download
Kirk Franklin and Toby Mac: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download
Kirk Franklin and Maurice White - September: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download
Kirk Franklin interview from the website Honey Soul Music [15:43m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download
Kirk Franklin interviewed with wife: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download