This past Wednesday, November 15th, at the Revention Music Center, gospel legend Kirk Franklin and one of R&B’s most underrated artists, Ledisi, shut it down.
Just like me, some audience members did not know what to expect out of a show featuring a gospel and an R&B singer. Will we be praising the Lord all night? Or will we be left thinking about a significant other? Opening act PJ Morton summarized the purpose of the show perfectly saying, “This tour is to prove that we do not have to change who we are to love both God and people.”
A diverse crowd, one composed of rebels, souls and saints, were able to come together to simply enjoy a night of music.
It was a “No Place for Judgement” zone. Ledisi made this clear as she pointed out the short shorts she was wearing while also sharing her love for God by word of mouth and singing some lines from Kirk’s songs. Her performance of “If You Don’t Mind” made it clear that there was an atmosphere of acceptance with the lines “If you don’t mind, can I be far from perfect?, Just can I be me?”
This display of love for God and people was executed creatively as Kirk and Ledisi tag-teamed the entire performance with clever transitions. An example includes Ledisi exiting the stage after a solo singing “I just want to be happy,” providing the perfect segue for Kirk to come on stage and perform “Wanna Be Happy?”
And, Mr. Franklin? He took it back old school. I looked around for praise breaks, ushers, and paper fans! He himself also made a statement about the goal to bring everyone together to let loose and enjoy the music. Kirk humorously called out anyone who looked afraid to dance to the supposedly secular beats and dared them to show him a few dances that they used to shamelessly perform back in the day.
Both artists performed songs ranging back from the beginning of their careers to their most recent albums. Whether the songs were from the ’90s or today, this tour was the perfect mix of genres, ages and backgrounds and did an extraordinary job at encouraging love and acceptance.