Kirk Franklin wins gospel artist of the year at Dove Awards

Grammy-winning gospel singer Kirk Franklin, who lives in Fort Worth, Texas, called for prayers Tuesday night during his acceptance speech after winning gospel artist of the year at the...

Grammy-winning gospel singer Kirk Franklin, who lives in Fort Worth, Texas, called for prayers Tuesday night during his acceptance speech after winning gospel artist of the year at the 50th annual Gospel Music Association’s Dove.

His remarks come after a Fort Worth woman was killed by a police officer over the weekend, which has sparked outrage and calls for police accountability.

“A young girl by the name of Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed in her home by a policeman and I am just asking that we send up prayers for her family and for his, and asking that we send up prayers for that 8-year-old little boy that saw that tragedy,” said Franklin, who also won contemporary gospel recorded song of the year.

This is not the first time that Franklin has spoken on the Dove Awards stage about police brutality, but when he urged Christian artists to speak out about racial injustice on the same awards show in 2016, his speech was edited when it was later broadcast on Trinity Broadcast Network.

Franklin told The Associated Press after the awards show that he’s never been reluctant to speak about political topics, even President Donald Trump, who he has criticized for his immigration policies. He called it his responsibility as a Christian artist.

“I’ll be quick to say that my heart is broken by the leadership of our president, that my heart is broken that he does not reflect any of the fruits of the spirit,” Franklin said. “We do have the responsibility, the same responsibility that Dr. King had when he marched.”

Franklin added: “This president does not reflect the spirit of a Christian.”

Grammy-winning singer Lauren Daigle reigned at the awards, winning artist of the year, song of the year and pop/contemporary album of the year.

The 28-year-old Louisiana-born artist was the leading artist nominee coming into the awards show, held in Nashville, Tennessee, and marks her second artist of the year win in just three years.

Her 2018 album “Look Up Child,” debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 all-genre chart and has broken chart records for weeks atop the Top Christian Albums chart. She won song of the year for her multiplatinum and Grammy-winning crossover single “You Say,” which has introduced her to much wider audiences in the last year. Producer and songwriter Jason Ingram, who helped write and record Daigle’s record, also won four awards including songwriter of the year, non-artist, and song of the year, which he co-wrote.

“Just to see the support of so many people, it’s really, really moving. It’s overwhelming,” Daigle said after winning song of the year.

Gabriel Alberto Azucena, who goes by the stage name GAWVI, won rap/hip hop recorded song of the year along with hip hop artist Lecrae for their song “Fight For Me” and Lecrae and Zaytoven won rap/hip hop album of the year for their collaborative album “Let the Trap Say Amen.”

For King and Country, made up of Australian born-brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, won pop/contemporary recorded song of the year for “God Only Knows.” Joel Smallbone said that the song, which was recently re-recorded as a duet version with country superstar Dolly Parton, felt like “a gift from God.”

The Dove Awards showed highlights from previous years including performances by Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton and DC Talk to honor the show’s 50th anniversary, and the presenters and performers included longtime gospel music leaders like Bill Gaither, Shirley Caesar and Pat Boone.

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