[WARNING – this post contains explicit sarcasm.]

In the tradition of The Onion and The Lark News, I bring you a news story I’ve longed to see for a long time:

Subtitles added to Kirk Franklin concert video

FT. WORTH – In response to growing concerns about the clarity of his verbal communication, Gospocentric Records has provided narration in the form of subtitles for Kirk Franklin’s latest concert video. Industry sources say its parent distributor Provident has been pressuring Gospocentric for years to make this move, citing consumer confusion among many factors.

“People don’t know what to ask for,” says marketing associate Randall Grayson. “I’ve had stores tell our reps that their customers keep asking for that ‘lemme-hear-you-make-some-Holy-Ghost-crazy-noise’ song.”

Christian bookstore manager George Leonard actually got in an argument about a Franklin tune after a customer insisted on hearing a song she thought was called ‘Friday.’ Said Leonard, “I’m like, ‘lady… trust me. The song is called Brighter Day. That’s what they’re chanting at the end of the song, ‘Brighter Day.’”

Representatives from the Gospel Lyric Transcriptionist Association affirmed the move overall, though with mixed levels of enthusiasm.

“Sure, it’ll help the consumer,” says LaQuisha Richardson, a GLTA staffer. “But I don’t know how we’re going to be able to meet that kind of demand. With Kirk, you’ve got a lot of lyrics to put down. Sure you’ve got the chorus, the verses, the bridge… but then there’s all this other stuff he be sayin, so it’s kinda hard to sort it all out.”

Gospel music archivist Llewellen Hodges is anxiously awaiting the latest videos to arrive with subtitles. “I’m hoping it will help me decipher the ‘Stomp code.’” Hodges has been working on trying to interpret a five-second section of the hit single “Stomp” where Franklin utters, in his trademark style of joyful abandon, a completely incomprehensible combination of words and phrases.

“See here,” he says, rewinding the audio for the umpteenth time, “It’s right before the cameo appearance by [Cheryl] “Salt” [James]… he starts with ‘young people if you don’t mind’ and then I can’t understand the rest.”

Hodges hopes he can use the subtitles to plug into his linguistic analysis software, in the hopes that he could form a composite interpolation of what Franklin intended to say.

Industry speculation has it that if the subtitles prove to boost enough sales, Gospocentric will reissue a special-edition DVD boxed set of his previous concerts with subtitles added. And if Hodges proves to be successful with his software, one insider said, “I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen with Fred Hammond or John P. Kee.”


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