- Faith & Family
It promises to be one of the most exciting, spirit-filled concerts of our time — with some preferring to call it a praise and worship service. But no matter what you call it, gospel music lovers are already buzzing about The King’s Men tour, slated for 7 p.m. this Sunday [Sept. 30th] at the AAA @ 7 p.m. The tour, conceived and produced by the phenomenal Kirk Franklin, will feature Franklin, along with three other heavyweights in the gospel industry: Donnie McClurkin, Marvin Sapp [formerly of Commissioned] and Israel Houghton.
“We live in difficult times and because of the challenges, some folks are turned off by the notion of organized religion,” Franklin said. “But they — we — need to be encouraged even more and to feel certain that there is a God somewhere. That’s what this tour is about — helping people feel better despite their circumstances and helping them know who holds the future.”
Concert is more than a show
“We plan to give people a good show but it will be more than a show,” he added. “We plan to speak to their soul, mind and body. I call it inspirational entertainment. And there is no headliner here — it’s interactive and collaborative. We are going to perform together and that will make it really sweet.”
Gospel aficionados are aware of the bond that Franklin and McClurkin have forged, particularly after witnessing the great success of the inspirational show “Sunday Best” on which they both appear. McClurkin says their friendship goes back much further than the TV show.
“I have been been in New York and pastoring for the past 11 years — so it’s rare for me to go out on tour but Kirk has been my confidant for many, many years and I couldn’t say no,” he said. “In terms of the tour, we let Kirk do all the work. When he gets started there is no stopping him. He is truly inspired by God. He hears my songs, Marvin’s songs and Israel’s songs and he starts creating. God has given him the entire production and because he is truly my brother, I trust him.”
McClurkin says he still calls his friend Kirk in the “wee hours of the night” to address his “human weaknesses” and to be encouraged or to give encouragement.
“I was once very afraid that my songs weren’t good enough and that I would fail,” he says. “I didn’t have confidence in myself even though others, like James Cleveland, Walter and Edwin Hawkins, Andre Crouch and Marvin Winans did. I had ‘can’t’ in me. Kirk really helped me overcome my lack of confidence.”
Franklin has his own testimony, recalling that when his first album, “Why We Sing,” was released in 1993, he was in the midst of being evicted from his apartment.
“My album was everywhere and selling like mad but I had spent a lot of money producing it and was broke and ashamed,” he said. “I experienced the sunshine and the rain at the same time. The good thing is that I was led to write songs about that pain and joy.”
The tour will conclude in mid-October in Brooklyn, NY. It is a collaboration between Kirk Franklin and Live Nation. For tickets go to www.ticketmaster.com.
By D. Kevin McNeir