Franklin created his own Tiny Desk vibe alongside his band and choir in a corner of Uncle Jessie’s Kitchen. According to NPR Music, the Arlington, Texas studio, named after a long time close friend, features a large photo of the iconic “I AM A MAN” protest signs from the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike on the wall. The joyous and infectious energy that Franklin and his ensemble ensue coupled with the visual reminder of the struggles Black people have endured is indicative of the significance of gospel music in the Black community.
“I know you’re at home right now, in your draws, listening to some Jesus music. It’s ok. Jesus loves you in your draws,” he shouts as he prepares to perform virtually.
Kirk Franklin has dominated and revolutionized the way we view and listen to gospel music for nearly thirty years. The way he created an intersection for secular music, especially hip hop, and traditional Christian music to coexist was a risk many gospel artists before him were never willing to take in fear of how the church might react. Franklin has continued to help spread the message and integrity of traditional gospel music while introducing churchgoers to the elements of rap music.