This weekend instead of a battle, Gospel singers Kirk Franklin and Fred Hammond took us to church for a special gospel edition of Verzuz and much-needed “moment of healing.”
Much less a battle and more of an opportunity to come together, Franklin and Hammond dedicated their time to focus on the needs of the black community, providing a safe space and platform for expression at a time it is essentially needed.
In the midst of the nationwide protests that have followed the unjust death of George Floyd, Franklin and Hammond went live with their uplifting music. Both wearing coordinated "I Can't Breathe" and "I Can't Breathe Again" statement shirts in honor of Floyd.
Before the music began, Bishop T.D. Jakes opened with words of hope and understanding. "Darkness everywhere, seemingly everywhere… Today we pray for light because we have seen too much darkness, from Trayvon to George Floyd. From 100K people dead from COVID... Lord knows we've seen too much darkness.” Jakes continued, "I don't know about you... but sometimes I feel like that knee is on my back and I can't breathe. But let everything that has breath praise the lord."
Jakes then led the viewers in prayer: "We pray back the darkness, we pray back the dark clouds... the injustice, the immorality... We pray it back out of our country, out of our world... out of minds, out of every crevice, out of every shadow, we cast you out! Oh God, wherever there is pain, giving healing... Where ever there is despair, give hope... The joy is coming in the morning. I can hear the ticktock on the wall... We are getting closer and closer... To the morning... It will not be long until joy comes into your heart, our communities, our lives, our homes our churches. Joy is coming in the morning. And we will breathe again. Amen.”
Timbaland, Kerry Washington, Bun B, Swizz Beatz, LeToya Luckett, and more all tuned in to join in Bishop TD Jakes’ opening prayer. Before the tracks were played, Franklin shared a few words, "It's been a painful week. It's been a difficult week. We want to make it a moment of healing for you. We have 42 songs to give to you. We know the pain, we see the pain.”
That song list included “Our God Is An Awesome God” and “Brighter Day” (accompanied by a shmoney dance). Throughout, Franklin kept the good times going with his vibrant energy, constantly engaging with the virtual crowd. About two hours in, Tamela Mann blessed us with her presence and vocals of “Take Me To The King,” and everyone in the comments lost it. With Franklin accompanying on keys, Mann gave the Live exactly what it needed from a gospel female powerhouse.
Franklin kept moods high right until the end, sharing a special announcement: "To all the first responders, to everyone working on the frontline, I did a video I'm gonna put out tomorrow.” With it Franklin said he wanted to "salute the people that are standing on the frontline on so many levels during this pandemic - we have several pandemics at one time.”
Join in salute and check out the music video for "Strong God.”