NPR Music’s Tiny Desk series will celebrate Black History Month by featuring four weeks of Tiny Desk (home) concerts and playlists by Black artists spanning different genres and generations each week. The lineup includes both emerging and established artists who will be performing a Tiny Desk concert for the first time. This celebration highlights the beautiful cornucopia of Black music and our special way of presenting it. We hope you enjoy.
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Bobby Carter | February 25, 2021
Kirk Franklin, set up with his band and choir in a corner of Uncle Jessie’s Kitchen, makes a declaration. “I know you’re at home right now, in your draws, listening to some Jesus music. It’s ok. Jesus loves you in your draws!” The Arlington, Texas studio, named after a long time close friend, features a large photo of the iconic “I AM A MAN” protest signs from the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike on the wall. The jubilant energy that Franklin and company emit, juxtaposed with a visual reminder of the strife that Black people have endured is illustrative of the importance of gospel music in the Black community.
For nearly 30 years, Franklin has been widely regarded for revolutionizing gospel. He incorporated secular music, particularly hip-hop, while preserving the message and integrity of traditional gospel. Here, he and his powerhouse choir pace through a decades-long, sixteen Grammy award winning discography of faith, praise and encouragement while cracking plenty of jokes. I cannot recall a more moving Tiny Desk home performance.
All month long, we’ve presented artists that speak to the diversity and complexity of Black music–where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going. For the final show, we take it back to the spiritual roots and there’s no one more fitting to cap things off than Mr. Kirk Franklin.
Silver and Gold
Melodies From Heaven
Kirk Franklin: vocals, keys
Melodie Pace: vocals
Darian Elliot: vocals
Michael Bethany: vocals
Eboni Ellerson: vocals
Deon Yancey: vocals
Tia Rudd: vocals
Shaun Martin: keyboard
Matthew Ramsey: bass
Terry Baker: drums, percussion
Video: Clear Scope Media
Audio: Michael Havens Reese Brooks
TINY DESK TEAM
Producers: Bobby Carter
Video Producer: Morgan Noelle Smith
Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
Art Director: CJ Riculan
Tiny Production Team: Bob Boilen, Kara Frame, Maia Stern
Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey
Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann