Statement on TBN decision to cut racial justice and educational equity messages from Dove Awards broadcast


Contact: Chris LaTondresse
(202) 368-0139

Statement on TBN decision to cut racial justice and educational equity messages from Dove Awards broadcast

We are disappointed by Trinity Broadcasting Network’s (TBN) decision to cut a significant portion of Kirk Franklin’s acceptance speech, and The Expectations Project’s (TEP) voice entirely, from the national broadcast of the 47th Annual Dove Awards. We were told that remarks from Kirk Franklin and TEP President Nicole Baker Fulgham during two segments, one that included references to race and law enforcement and another calling attention to racial disparities in our nation’s schools, were too political.

We appeal to our brothers and sisters in Christ to watch Kirk Franklin’s full speech, and Nicole and Kirk’s education segment later in the program, and judge for themselves whether this content is too political.

On October 11, The Expectations Project’s president Nicole Baker Fulgham joined Kirk Franklin onstage at the Dove Awards for a one-minute spotlight on education equity, scheduled for broadcast on October 16. Their appearance was coordinated with the organization behind the Dove Awards, the Gospel Music Association (GMA), aimed at reaching millions with a message of Christian unity for our nation’s students.

“Our schools are falling short, divided by race and class, and radically unequal,” said Fulgham in her onstage remarks, “but it doesn’t have to be this way.” Earlier in the program Kirk touched on similar themes during an award acceptance speech for Gospel Artist of the Year. He received a standing ovation.

TBN completely cut the education equity segment featuring Kirk and Nicole, and following racial justice language from Kirk’s acceptance speech, from the television broadcast on October 16:

“Outside of this building there’s chaos and calamity in the world. And there’s so much hurt and distrust. …And to all of us, I do not like that the world is controlling the narrative. It should be us controlling the narrative. Whether its bad preachers, bad police or bad politicians, we have the spirit of redemption when we speak. When we say something we want to bring it together, not separate it. When police are killed we need to say something. When black boys are killed we need to say something. And when we don’t say something we’re saying something.”

Calling God’s people to address racial inequality in our churches, public schools and criminal justice system isn’t about politics. As Christians we affirm all people are created in the image of God and are of immeasurable and equal worth regardless of their race, class or gender. Violations to human life and dignity, especially to the most vulnerable, break God’s heart and demand a response from his followers.

Our mission, mobilizing people of faith to address extreme disparities in our public schools, is rooted in this vision of biblical justice. Concern for the most vulnerable and confronting injustice are central to Christ’s message. It isn’t a matter of politics. It’s a matter of Christian faithfulness. It’s disappointing that TBN would hide Gospel-centered racial justice and education equity messages from their audience.


October 31, 2016
The Expectations Project

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