After the death of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that have followed, Franklin and Hammond — wearing coordinating “I Can’t Breathe” and “I Can’t Breathe Again” statement shirts — went live with their uplifting music Sunday night (May 31) on Instagram. Franklin also left fans looking forward to his new music video, which he said will drop Monday.
Bishop T.D. Jakes opened the music event with words of hope.
“Darkness everywhere, seemingly everywhere,” he said. “Today we pray for light because we have seen too much darkness, from Trayvon to George Floyd. From 100K people dead from Covid … Lord knows we’ve seen too much darkness.”
Jakes continued, “I don’t know about you … but sometimes I feel like that knee is on my back and I can’t breathe. But let everything that has breath praise the lord.,” and led viewers with a prayer: “We pray back the darkness, we pray back the dark clouds … the injustice, the immorality … We pray it back out of our country, out of our world … out of minds, out of every crevice, out of every shadow, we cast you out! … Oh God, whereever there is pain, giving healing … Where ever there is despair, give hope … The joy is coming in the morning. I can hear the ticktock on the wall … We are getting closer and closer … To the morning … It will not be long until joy comes into your heart, our communities, our lives, our homes our churches. Joy is coming in the morning. And we will breathe again. Amen.”
Before the tracks were played, Franklin said, “It’s been a painful week. It’s been a difficult week. We want to make it a moment of healing for you. We have 42 songs to give to you. We know the pain, we see the pain.”
By the end of Sunday night’s ‘Verzuz,’ Franklin kept moods high with an announcement: “To all the first responders, to everyone working on the frontline, I did a video I’m gonna put out tomorrow.”
The music video for “Strong God” off of his Long, Live, Love album will be released tomorrow, and with it, Franklin said he wanted to “salute the people that are standing on the frontline on so many levels during this pandemic — we have several pandemics at one time.”