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The Christian Postposted a blog, Thu, 25 Apr, 2024

Kirk Franklin draws ire of Christians for dress, gyrating performance at Jamaican gospel concert

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Gospel artist Kirk Franklin is drawing the ire of conservative Christians in Jamaica for gyrating and flexing his biceps while ministering in a tank top and shorts at “Fun in the Son,” a popular annual gospel concert sponsored by Best Dressed Chicken, a brand of the company Jamaica Broilers Group, which is well-known for their commitment to Judeo-Christian values.  

“At Jamaica Broilers Group, we are committed to staying true to the core. Our core values are based on Judeo-Christian principles and form the foundation on which our business is built and on which we are encouraged to conduct our lives,” the company states on its website.  

“This is how we determine what is expected of us in fulfilling our obligations to our customers, shareholders, employees, contractors, and communities. Our policies and procedures reflect these principles and as they are the bedrock of our culture — they are ours to own, protect and live without compromise.”   

Prior to the “Fun in the Son” concert that took place at the Caribbean island’s National Stadium on Saturday, the company, which engages in the production and distribution of poultry products, animal feeds and agricultural items, and has significant operations in the U.S., encouraged the public to join them in celebrating 65 years of “God’s faithfulness,” with Franklin, Toby Mac, and several local Christian artists.  

“The Best Dressed Chicken is celebrating 65 years of God’s faithfulness to our company and in light of this, we want to invite Jamaica to join us for a free, family-friendly festival,” the company announced.  

“We believe God has blessed us, so we want to bless others. We are about transforming the lives of people for Jesus Christ so that they can positively impact the future of our country. Our hope is that this Gospel Festival will change lives by providing spiritually uplifting, wholesome, fun-filled activities where people can celebrate their love of God with their family and friends.”  

Many concertgoers, however, did not get that message from Franklin’s performance. Reactions to a viral video of Franklin performing at the concert posted on X by The Tropix on Sunday, and has been viewed more than 947,000 times as of Wednesday, shows some members of the audience were so confused and offended they walked out.  

“I was at the concert and honestly, he confused me. I was listening to the songs as the females sung but he distracted me the whole time. I couldn’t connect to the songs after looking at him. He was dancing like I was in an Usher, Michael Jackson, and Chris Brown concert,” wrote one woman who described herself as a “God-fearing chica” on X.  

“I walked out during his first song! This just didn’t sit well with me how he was behaving on that stage. I thought I was at an Usher concert!” Tasha Brown added in response to another video of Franklin on stage dancing at the concert shared on Facebook by the Jamaica Gleaner.  

Kirk Franklin performing in Jamaica ???????? pic.twitter.com/2CSFUC52Wf  — The Tropixs (@Tropixsofficial) April 21, 2024

Others commenting on social media like Craig Anthony Shim made bawdy jokes about the gospel star’s performance.  

“He acting like he at Diddy house,” Shim quipped on Facebook, referencing the cloud of explosive sexual abuse allegations against music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs.  

Asked about the concerns raised by the concertgoers about Franklin’s presentation at “Fun in the Son” and his apparent departure from the spirit of the company’s celebration of “65 years of God’s faithfulness,” Jamaica Broilers Group President and CEO Christopher Levy told The Christian Post in a statement that the company had “expected more” from Franklin.  

“When we engage an artist, it is with a degree of trust that the artist will be aware and sensitive to their audience. We expected more from Mr. Franklin,” said Levy, who is also described on the company’s website as “a follower of Christ” who “attributes his success to an abiding trust and faith in the Lord’s guidance.”  

“We are cognizant that each of us are working through our relationship with The Lord, and we prayerfully support his growth,” Levy noted. 

In addition to their operations in the Caribbean, Jamaica Broilers Group operates businesses in Georgia, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Florida and South Carolina, which “supports farmers around the world.” A subsidiary of the company, Wincorp, is described as “one of the largest suppliers of fertile eggs in the United States.”  

Franklin’s team did not respond to questions from CP about his performance in Jamaica. This article will be updated if a response is received.  

At a press conference prior to his performance on Saturday, the 54-year-old choir director, who had previously performed at “Fun in the Son,” noted that it had been a decade since his last show on the island. He explained that he had “a lot of life experiences, and emotion and energy and passion that I’m going to bring to the stage that’s been bottled up for the last decade.”  

“I just want you to know how humbled and how honored I was to receive an invitation to come back after 10 years. It just made me feel like this beautiful place still had a place for me. And I want to show the level of gratitude that I have by how I present tomorrow night on stage,” Franklin said.  

“Ten years is a long time. So I've got a lot to say. I've got a lot to do,” he said. “I've got a lot to express.”  

This isn’t the first time that Franklin has been criticized for what was perceived as improperly representing Christ in a performance. In 2019, a street preacher who identified himself only as Ty from a ministry called Untamed Truth went viral for rebuking the gospel music star for failing to represent the Gospel during a 3.5-minute performance at the BET Awards show. He also accused Franklin of selling his soul to the devil.  

The publicity from the video forced Franklin to have a meeting with the preacher. Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and Franklin’s “spiritual father,” was also a part of that meeting.  

On his arrival in Jamaica, the Hon. Olivia "Babsy" Grange, Jamaica’s minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport, who welcomed Franklin to the country, told him, “you are loved in Jamaica.”  

A video clip posted by the Jamaica Gleaner on Facebook shows Franklin ending his show with a drop of his microphone followed by a swagger off the stage and a few quick waves as the crowd continued singing the lyrics to his 1997 song "Stomp" with gospel group God's Property.  

“Whatever y’all do,’” said prophetess Sheena Williams of Word Empowerment International Ministry in Florida in an apparent statement on Facebook to the organizers of the Jamaican Christian concert,  “JUST DON’T BRING HIM BACK.”

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