Mon | May 27, 2024

Kirk Franklin sings Jamaica’s praises

Published:Sunday | April 21, 2024 | 12:08 AMKenrick Morgan - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Franklin speaks with journalists on his arrival in the island ahead of last night’s Fun in the Son gospel event.
Franklin speaks with journalists on his arrival in the island ahead of last night’s Fun in the Son gospel event.
Photos by Ricardo Makyn/Chief Photo Editor 
Kirk Franklin (left) greets Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange warmly with a kiss on the cheek.
Photos by Ricardo Makyn/Chief Photo Editor Kirk Franklin (left) greets Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange warmly with a kiss on the cheek.
Back on The Rock, Franklin was all smiles as he entered the lounge at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Friday.
Back on The Rock, Franklin was all smiles as he entered the lounge at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Friday.
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When internationally recognised songwriter and gospel singer, Kirk Franklin, arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Friday, one thing was abundantly clear in his mind – he was home.

It is no secret that the entertainer, who has not performed locally in about 10 years, is both loved and held in high regard by Jamaicans. However, Franklin was quick to share that the feeling is mutual.

“I just love the idea of Jamaica, that [it] is so full of all of this culture and musical foundation, [and] still having a space where those that love God can express themselves in a beautiful and natural environment that doesn’t exist anywhere else on the planet,” Franklin told The Sunday Gleaner.

“And I think that in itself makes Fun in the Son such a unique space, that makes it attractive to want to come and celebrate Jesus in an environment that is not always conducive to the musical experience,” he added.

This year marked Franklin’s third time performing at the Tommy Cowan-led event, which stands as a pillar not only in the gospel music space, but the entertainment industry as a whole.

In fact, according to Shikisha Cowan, director at Glory Music, Fun in the Son has been a constant in the space for over two decades.

“I want to reiterate how grateful we are to be doing this for 22 years. Our vision as a company is to win this and the next generation for Christ through authentic, yet diverse worship. And so, with that, our whole entire organisation is happy about that,” Cowan said.

For Kirk Franklin, he appreciates that the event has made use of Jamaica’s rich culture while creating a space for various experiences.

“This ecosystem that has always brought much of black culture and more of an urban mainstream experience. And now, you have curated a space that is specific to those that really want to find hope in hopeless environments, and they can do it at Fun in the Son,” Franklin said.

CREATING ENABLING ENVIRONMENTS

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange was among the first on the ground to greet Franklin on his arrival to Jamaica.

In a conversation with The Sunday Gleaner, Grange responded to questions regarding the government’s role in keeping big names in the entertainment space coming to the island.

“We create an enabling environment for events like these. Through my ministry and my efforts, we work very closely with the gospel community. We work very carefully with the entertainment industry, and we provide support,” the minister said.

“We assist in the various courtesies extended to the various personalities when they arrive. And we embrace the efforts that are being made by our promoters, be it religious or secular music,” Grange added.

Franklin reiterated this sentiment of being welcomed home, while joking it’s “your fault” for the 10-year wait it took for him to return.

“It has been 10 years, and it felt like it. So, when I was invited back to this beautiful country I was really humbled. It made it feel like this place had a place for me,” he added, making it clear that Jamaica will always be another home.

kenrick.morgan@gleanerjm.com