#Verzuz Battle, Kirk Franklin v. Fred Hammond: A Praise in Spite of Darkness

T.D. Jakes said it best during the prayer, “In spite of the darkness, there is the possibility of great light. Step into the brightness.” For many of us, this battle was a step towards the brightness. It gave us the hug that our community needed as we deal with the struggles of today, from the inequalities that exist as a result of racism to the inequitable realities of COVID-19.

Timbaland and Swizz proclaimed that this would not be a battle, but instead a celebration. Indeed, we celebrated. We sang along to the numerous hits, nostalgic about our past, in the church, with our friends, and in the community. We laughed with the jokes that were made (Kirk Franklin’s resemblance to Plies and Fred’s “secular saints” reference). We also cried when they called out the names of the murdered African Americans. The statements made by Kirk and Fred was moving as they discussed their own fears about society and the state of affairs. We felt Fred’s tears as he worshipped during Kirk’s beautiful piano solo. We shouted with joy when we saw Marvin Sapp and Tamela Mann come in and sing their wonderful hits. (Tamela Mann sent us over the edge with “Take Me To The King!”)

Tamela Mann on Verzuz with Kirk Franklin & Fred Hammond

Every song that was played triggered our emotions, whether joyfully or mournfully, and they were a source of release as we belted out the ballads. It was two hours of joy, vulnerability, and calm. It was, again, that hug that Timbaland and Swizz wanted. Although we returned to the harsh realities of today soon after it ended, it was our moment of celebration. It was a time to be with our virtual community via Instagram. For those two hours, all of the viewers were there, locked into a moment of light. 

Fred Hammond & Kirk Franklin in the Verzuz Battle

 


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