This week’s Verzuz battle took us to the church. The two gospel legends paid tribute to the late George Floyd during the epic Instagram live event.
Kirk Franklin, 50, and Fred Hammond, 59, were the latest duo to face off in Swizz Beatz and Timbaland‘s Verzuz battles! The two gospel icons were announced via the official Verzuz Instagram account on Friday, May 29, dubbing the event “The Healing.” Bishop T.D. Jakes, 62, kicked off the event with some opening words, where he addressed the the death of George Floyd. “Today, we pray for light because we have seen too much darkness — from Trayvon Martin to George Floyd,” The Potter’s House Bishop said in his powerful sermon.
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“There are some of us who realize that darkness is not a thing…it has no metrics, no distance,” he continued. “With 100,000 people dead from COVID-19, Lord knows we have seen too much darkness. Sometimes I feel like that knee is on my neck and I can’t breathe,” he went on, poignantly referencing the way in which George lost his life, urging followers to “not allow darkness to possess your soul.”
Celebrities flooded the comments section with prayers of their very own, including Snoop Dogg, Real Housewives of Atlanta‘s Kandi Burruss, and Ludacris. Kandi and Snoop added several prayer emojis for George, with Snoop writing “Praise God.” Ludacris dubbed the emotionally charged event “uplifting Sunday Soul Food,” which left many of the A-List attendees begging for longer songs due to Instagram’s time limits.
“Y’all gotta let it play a little longer,” Kandi urged, as Kerry Washington backed her up. “Run it!!!!!!!!!!” the Scandal star begged, commenting throughout the stream. “This is my SONG!!!!” Kerry wrote later during the battle. “We mad like you mad. I cried,” Fred said during the battle, referencing George Floyd. “On that call with me, you, Swizz and Tim — we were in tears talking about this. We’re in the furnace right now…we in the lions den right now,” he added, becoming emotional as he talked about his 22 year old son.
“Join Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond and Bishop T.D. Jakes for this Sunday’s special edition of VERZUZ – THE HEALING… Everyone needs a hug …,” the original Verzuz announcement read, set to a soon by Keedron Bryant.
The pair are both at the top of their game when it comes to gospel music, with Kirk putting out hits like “The Storm Is Over Now,” “Why We Sing,” and “I Smile.” The Fort Worth, Texas native has 16 Grammy wins under his belt, dating back to 1996’s Whatcha Lookin’ 4. Fred is best known for his smash singles like “You Are The Living Word,” and “No Weapon,” and also earned himself a Grammy in 2007 for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album.
Verzuz battles have become a viral sensation since quarantine began, starting off with Babyface and Teddy Riley back in March! The R&B producers unfortunately had to reschedule due to technical difficulties on round one, which have plagued some of the later live events, as well. Nelly and Ludacris later faced off, followed by 112 and Jagged Edge, Bounty Killer and Beenie Man, and Jill Scott and Erykah Badu. Michelle Obama couldn’t get enough of Erykah and Jill’s battle, and even popped into the comments with a song request of her very own (Erykah’s iconic “Green Eyes”).