The Gospel Music Association (GMA) has apologized to Kirk Franklin for censoring his speech during the broadcast of the 50th Annual Dove Awards earlier this month.
The platinum-selling performer, songwriter and producer addressed the cuts on Monday in a lengthy Instagram video, where he opened up about being “heart-broken” and added that he felt “like quitting.”
Franklin, giving some background, explained that in 2016, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which airs the show, cut out a portion of his acceptance speech in which he addressed his concern for the civil unrest related to police-involved shootings, including the deaths of Philando Castile and Walter Scott.
“I called upon the audience to join me in remembering that as Christians when we say nothing, we’re saying something,” he recounted.
Franklin confided that after making his concerns known then, he was told it wouldn’t happen again.
But with his year’s award — where he was named Gospel Artist of the Year, ironically — history repeated itself.
“During my speech, I brought attention to the murder of Atatiana Jefferson in her home by a white police officer,” Franklin said in the video.
“I asked everyone in the audience and those viewing to join me in prayer for not only Atatiana’s family … but also for the family of the police officer,” he explained. “During the airing of the awards on the same network, again, that part of my speech was edited out.”
The “Imagine Me” star said he’s made the decision to boycott the network, the Gospel Music Association and the Dove Awards until “tangible plans are put in place to protect and champion diversity, especially where people of color have contributed their gifts, talents and fiances to help build the viability of these institutions.”
“Not only did they edit my speech, they edited the African-American experience,” said Franklin, a favored artist for the awards over the past two decades.
The 14-time Grammy Award winner has sold 10 million albums worldwide and is the host of the BET gospel talent competition “Sunday Best.”
The video went viral after it was released on Monday and the Gospel Music Association, which hosts the Dove Awards, apologized to the Grammy Award-winning star.
“We would like to publicly acknowledge that we are deeply apologetic for the missteps that happened relating to the editing of Kirk Franklin’s Dove Awards acceptance speech,” Gospel Music Association president Jackie Patillo said in a statement.
“It left a general perception that we are not concerned with key social issues that affect people of color,” the statement continued. “It is not our intent to disregard or silence any of our artists, and we are deeply saddened by this perception and are committed to change this.”
An unedited version of Franklin’s speech was later released online by the Gospel Music Association.