If it’s one thing Kirk Franklin knows how to do, it’s give you a good word. Usually, the Grammy Award-winner singer, songwriter, and choir director’s words come wrapped up in beautiful melodies on albums, but this year Franklin is trying out another medium: podcasts.
Last month, Good Words with Kirk Franklin launched in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment, as a series of candid conversations about faith, music, and navigating life in the context of your relationship with God. While podcasts are currently experiencing a huge resurgence — and everyone from your next door neighbor to your favorite celebrity seems to have one — Franklin says he got only got on board with the idea when he saw how it could be an extension of what he’s naturally been doing his whole life.
“I never want to be in spaces that are not organically me,” he tells ESSENCE. “Things that I can’t do in a way that makes you feel that this is a natural transition, versus ‘he’s just hopping on stuff.'”
Franklin kicked off the series with a conversation with Pharrell Williams and has since released episodes with H.E.R. and Chance the Rapper — “individuals that are at the intersection of culture and have some type of compass of faith,” Franklin says.
“Historically, you don’t really see this flow — or a cohesiveness — of faith and pop culture, but those that are the architects, and those that curate culture, have also been people who are men and women of deep faith but pop culture doesn’t give them a lot of platforms to articulate their faith.”
Good Words does just that as Franklin allows his guests to share their personal view of God while also seeking guidance on how the church can better serve people. In speaking with the Gospel music pioneer about the new generation of pop culture preachers, so to speak, we asked how women can better be centered in conversations around the evolution of the church, rather than chastised, and Franklin shared this.
“Without the voices and the stories and the foundational experiences of incredible women of scripture, we wouldn’t be able to tell this 2,000-year-old story of Jesus being the king of the world. So the misogynistic moves and decisions that have been historically within the Christian church, we need to continue to have these conversations. We need to continue to honor the women while at the same time giving a restructured understanding of the patriarchal establishment of men in scripture and men in the church because it was never supposed to be authoritarian,” Franklin explains. “It was never supposed to have this male toxicity that has been the undercurrent of using the pulpit as a bullying pen.”
Check out our full interview with Kirk Franklin in the video above.