‘Uncle Kirk’ faced criticism for his outfit while performing at Fun in the Son in Jamaica last weekend. Monique Thomas wonders how much of this outrage is justified.

Kirk Franklin

Source: https://wicnews.com/

Kirk Franklin at Fun in the Son, Jamaica

Kirk Franklin has recently faced backlash following his performance at the Fun In The Son gospel festival in Jamaica. Dressed in a beige knitted vest and white shorts, people took to social media to comment on the gospel artist’s dress and energetic dance moves stating, “Doesn’t look like God is being glorified at all.”

Expressing their frustration with what they felt was a lack of modesty and the apparent self centred nature of his performance, many concluded that this was a reflection of his struggling Christian walk.

“Kirk has lost his way. Looking just like the world.” “Forget the outfit, he needs Jesus.” wrote another. 

”Kirk has lost his way. Looking just like the world.” “Forget the outfit, he needs Jesus.” wrote another. Whilst a few users jumped in to defend the artist, “Dancing like David danced. Don’t judge,” the overwhelming response on his recent Instagram post about his visit to the island aligned with  “put it on mute and you’ll forget he’s singing Gospel.”

The visibility of Franklin’s pecs and guns in the Kingston sun was both distracting and disappointing for some of his fans, but this level of criticism is not foreign to the Grammy Award winning artist. So what does he have to say about it all?

With lightheartedness Kirk responded,  “I’m sorry, I’m not trying to do anything bad…I’m enjoying myself when I’m up there, I’m having a good time.”

Fresh from the US Kingdom tour, in an interview with The Morning Hustle in October 2023, Kirk himself made mention of a video circulating online that exchanged his original audio for Genuwine’s hit song Horny to highlight their views about the sexual nature of his dancing. With lightheartedness Kirk responded ‘I’m sorry, I’m not trying to do anything bad…I’m enjoying myself when I’m up there, I’m having a good time.’ He even states that he himself watching back the videos sometimes thinks, “Oooh that was like…but I don’t mean no harm…I really just be enjoying myself.” He reflects that this is the type of criticism he’s been getting his whole career.

In his interview on club Shay in December 2023, Franklin gives a broader picture of his career and his journey of becoming comfortable with being scrutinised for both his music and performance style. Acknowledging that he still struggles with wanting to be liked by the church he explains that he’s “always really trying to find a way to show people” that he really loves God, but he’s not perfect.


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He emphasises the need for people to be authentic in their expression and the importance of not imposing our standards on others. Having a biblical illiteracy and relying on elders in his youth, he learned that some of what he received was ‘their word, not God’s word.’ He also expressed his view that a lot of what was handed down in tradition was in fact a colonised version of Christianity, which was about control. He makes connection to the Slave Bible that removed all references to freedom in order to keep Africans bound, even in their pursuit of Christ.

People may differ in their convictions about what is acceptable for gospel artists in terms of dress and performance, but for Uncle Kirk this is his authentic expression. He doesn’t claim to be perfect but he is committed to being free and at 54 years old, 27 years after his hit record Stomp shook the perceptions of what gospel music could be, you’re gonna have to take it or leave it because he’s not going to be enslaved by church critics.