Kirk Franklin’s ‘The Reunion Tour’ 2024: A Gospel Music Icon Continues to Shine Bright

Few in Gospel music can rival Kirk Franklin’s impressive 32-year career and enduring legacy. As the visionary behind The Family, the choir collective he founded in 1992, Franklin has carved out a unique space in the genre. Over the years, he has garnered 20 GRAMMY Awards, created timeless Christian classics, and toured the globe. This fall, Franklin is set to continue his global journey with the 2024 leg of The Reunion Tour. This tour will feature Gospel luminaries Yolanda Adams, Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp and The Clark Sisters, with special guest Kierra Sheard-Kelly. Kicking off on September 6 in Philadelphia, PA, the 33-date tour will traverse North America, hitting major cities like Boston, Chicago, Brooklyn, and Miami, before concluding in Los Angeles on November 3. Franklin eagerly promises an unforgettable show for all.

Kirk Franklin’s debut album, “Kirk Franklin and the Family,” released 32 years ago, introduced church staples such as “He’s Able” and “Why We Sing.” Subsequent projects with Nu Nation and as a solo artist produced hits like “Smile” and “Revolution,” the latter’s parent album selling over 3 million copies in the US and becoming one of the best-selling Gospel albums of all time. Throughout his career, Franklin has collaborated with Gospel legends like Rance Allen and Tamela Mann, and received sonic support from contemporary producers such as Rodney “Darkchild” Jenkins and Dan Shea.

The 2024 leg of The Reunion Tour, affectionately dubbed Reunion Tour 2.0 by fans, follows the successful 2023 tour, which featured Israel Houghton, David and Tamela Mann, Tye Tribbett, and the returning Clark Sisters. The Live Nation Urban and Undivided Ent. produced tour was announced via a trailer on social media and quickly became one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster now.

EBONY connected with Kirk Franklin to discuss the upcoming tour, new music and his connection with fans via social media and beyond. 

EBONY: Your debut album came out over 32 years ago, how does it feel to see your music transition through so many different generations at this point?  

KF: It’s overwhelming, humbling. It doesn’t make sense to me. You know, it’s something I can’t easily describe. I’m very grateful, extremely grateful.

EBONY: Are there things, at this point in your career, that still feel new to you after doing it so long?

KF: Everything feels new. Every moment feels new. There’s nothing that is just repetitious to me. You know, I am always a new artist. That is just how I’m wired. I’m wired to approach things like a new artist and wired to execute like a new artist. 

EBONY: There’s something to be said about still having that excitement and also hunger to actually go above and beyond at this point of your career. It’s incredible to hear that you still have that mindset, despite all of the accolades.

KF: I don’t even consider [the accolades]. It’s not even something that’s part of my conscious thinking. I do Gospel music and so because I do Gospel music, it should always be the leading narrative of everything that I do. I’m very, very intentional about that. When people leave my presence, whether it’s personal or professional, they leave with some level of residue and impact.

EBONY: You’ve created opportunities throughout your entire career, to really not only support yourself but support your choir, the band, and collaborators. 

Now you’re also expanding it and Yolanda Adams, Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp, the Clark sisters, and Kierra Sheard Kelly are joining you on tour. Are you sending a message by sharing the moment with your peers in the Gospel community?

KF: Yes – that collaboration is powerful. It just shows a deeper level of unity. That message of unity really cuts through because people in our society are starting to live in silos. They find themselves lost and kind of alone by themselves.

Collaborative moments give people an understanding of how big community is and how we were all created for the community. 

EBONY: Absolutely. That’s a message that a lot of people can connect with. Social media is also a powerful tool in creating community. You’ve also become very active on social media. Is it intentional to use social media to reach more people?

KF: Because it’s always ever-changing, I think, first of all, you have to be a student of it, and I think that you’ve got to surround yourself with people that are engulfed into understanding the evolution of how you utilize it and how you communicate through it. So that’s what I try to do. I try to keep people around me who can help me articulate my heart, my passion, my emotions, my creativity, or my ministry to that community.

EBONY: In relation to the tour specifically, how do you plan to bring that message to the stage? What can audiences expect in terms of the structure of the show and how that collaboration manifests on stage?

KF: We really want to curate a moment where people are pulled into moments of nostalgia, moments of relief, moments of inspiration, moments of aspiration, moments of humor, moments of spiritual reminders. We wanted to create this engulfing experience that was very successful on the first reunion tour.

We really want to amplify it on the second tour so that people, when they leave, there is a fulfillment of the minds by the mind, body, and soul. We will have collaborative moments. People are going to be on stage doing their biggest songs. The night is all about the music. Even in the stage production, everything leads back to the music.

EBONY: There’s a very dynamic group of musicians that each offer a a different element of Gospel or Christian music. Wha was the decision process entail in choosing who to ask to join you on tour? 

KF: You know, it’s not as methodical as probably it seems. Because [Gospel] is very niche and very community-driven, these are people that have decades of relationship. These are people that are all fans of each other’s music. We’ve been around each other for years. I think the best benefit of Gospel music is that we have these histories and these relationships that go back so many years. That’s just the nature of the church.

EBONY: With everyone preparing and rehearsing for the shows, and then subsequently working together every night – can fans expect new music to be birthed from the tour? 

KF: I’m not gonna say nothing much [laughs]. Something’s coming… You know we cooked up a little something special for the tour. There’s a companion piece to the tour. There’s something special coming.

EBONY: Incredible. incredible. We’ll definitely stay tuned for more details on that. 

June is Black Music Month. The most unique thing about gospel is that it’s the foundation of a lot of genres that we now know today. Whether we look at R&B, hip-hop, or jazz – we see the influence. Are there any sounds outside of gospel that you enjoy or inspire you? 

 that inspire you or that you enjoy

KF: I listen to all kinds of music. I listen to Gospel music probably the least just because it’s the music that I make. I enjoy Tems, Ryan Tedder, Jack Black. I enjoy the Black Crowes. Man, I enjoy Taylor Swift, Drake and Victoria Monet. I enjoy Coco Jones. I enjoy Frankie Beverly, you know, you know, I’m a connoisseur of music. I love music. 

EBONY: It’s great to hear you mention Tems and Afrobeats. Many people in Nigerian churches were raised on African remixes to your songs. It’s great to see Black music cross language barriers. How do you feel to be a part of that experience? 

KF: I’m very humbled by it, because I know, once again, it didn’t have to be that way. Listen, I’ve been to Nigeria so many times in my life…I love the culture, the music and the experiences. Now that Afrobeats is such a popular mainstream sound [I find myself] wanting to find ways to include it in everything I do.

EBONY:  What are you most excited about for this tour? And what is the one thing that you want to share with your fans before this tour starts?

KF: The one thing that I’m most excited about is just, just being on the road with my friends. Getting a chance to see them showcase their talents and their gifts and abilities. And to amplify the message of the good news of Jesus Christ too. 

The thing that I want to say to the people coming is that we [receive] a lot of joy, pleasure, and gratitude when people take time out of their busy schedule to come see us and interact with us. And we won’t let them down.

Updated: June 26, 2024 — 12:03 pm