Kirk Franklin, the Grammy Award-winning artist, is telling his story in a touching documentary. He talks about the pain of his childhood, being an orphan, and how it left him feeling insecure despite his success in music.
In this powerful documentary, he shares the emotional journey of meeting his biological father for the first time in over five decades. He explains how he grew up with distant relatives, not knowing his dad, and rarely seeing his birth mother.
Franklin paints a vivid picture of the isolation he felt: “I would see my biological mother, Debra, maybe once or twice a year. When you see your biological parents two or three times a year, it’s a scar that never gets to heal because when they leave they are ripping that scar. So you grow up with a lot of rejection issues. You grow up with a lot of ‘Why am I not good enough to go with you?'”
He continues, “So it was a very lonely life. The only thing that was my constant was a small piano in the front of the house. That was the beginning of my relationship with God as a little boy.”
Music became Franklin’s escape from the challenges of growing up in the projects, propelling him to become one of the most recognized names in Gospel music. Despite his professional success, the emotional wounds from his tumultuous childhood continued to haunt him.
Franklin reveals that at the tender age of six, he was introduced to a man his biological mother claimed was his father. However, he did not see this man again until he was 13, and it was only after the release of his first album that this individual began to reappear in his life. Franklin reflects on the complex emotions this stirred, saying, “I was angry at the fact that I did not have a father and he would dare show up once my life seemed to have some sense of order. Same for my biological mother.”
As Franklin’s career soared, his mother also resurfaced, further complicating his emotional journey. The tumultuous relationship with the man he believed was his father continued until the man’s passing in 2017. Franklin shares his emotional closure in the documentary, revealing, “I buried the man I thought was my father. I flew to Houston and made peace with him.”
Believing that his father was gone, Franklin received a surprising revelation earlier this year when a vocalist from his team attended a funeral in his hometown and encountered a man who claimed to have dated Franklin’s mother in the past. Rumors began to circulate that this man, named Richard Hubbard, could be his father, and DNA results confirmed it with 99.9% accuracy.
“To live over half a century with somebody who lived in the same city as you…” Franklin shares. “I suffered so much as a young man without guidance. I struggled with love, intimacy, faith, and identity. And to know that the answer was less than 10 minutes away.”
The documentary captures the heartfelt first meeting between father and son, a moment both had yearned for but never imagined would occur. Franklin tearfully expresses, “He didn’t even know he had a son. And I didn’t even know I had a father.”
Franklin acknowledges that his mother has refused to accept the DNA test results, perpetuating a cycle of trauma. He shares, “She’s just very adamant that this man is not my father. I have not heard or talked to her since the second test result.”Grammy-Winning Artist Kirk Franklin’s Emotional Reunion with Long-Lost Father
The artist emphasizes that meeting his father has prompted him to reevaluate his relationship with his own children, notably reuniting with his eldest son, Kerrion, whom he had been estranged from for two years. Franklin candidly confesses that his past experiences led him to parent out of fear, but he has now embraced the importance of a healthier approach.
Throughout his tumultuous journey, Franklin has found solace in expressing his emotional struggles through music, and he hopes that his upcoming gospel album, “Father’s Day,” will provide healing and inspiration. The album, set to release on October 6, holds deep significance for Franklin, encapsulating “what I missed, where I am, and what has always been.”
Despite the challenges he has faced, Franklin maintains his faith and resolve, stating, “even when I want to curse the sky, I’m still built to believe.”