NewsBlack Professors Launch New Curriculum Study Guide About Kirk Franklin’s Controversial Story

Black Professors Launch New Curriculum Study Guide About Kirk Franklin’s Controversial Story

Nationwide — Two Black professors, Dr. Linda J.M. Holloway and Dr. April T. Berry, have developed and released a Curriculum Study Guide to unpack the Kirk Franklin Story about his endeavors to locate his biological father. Their guide is called Black Fathers Matter: Unpacking the Kirk Franklin Story and it addresses a seemingly sincere search for his dad that garnered national attention but has also drawn controversy.

Dr. Holloway is no stranger to creating curriculum study guide questions to engage her students in intellectually stimulating conversations. She has used movies, books, poetry, TED Talks, current events, and videos that cover a variety of topics to address mental health issues and cultural diversity. Thus, upon watching Father’s Day: A Kirk Franklin Story, where Kirk Franklin spoke to trying to locate his biological father, she knew instantaneously this would be an excellent piece of literature to introduce into her Family Counseling graduate course. She teamed up with Dr. Berry who she knew had a passion for understanding interpersonal, social and cultural diversity dynamics in relation to mental health challenges to collaborate on this project.

Both Drs. Holloway and Berry, who are also known for the Curriculum Study Guide about the Montgomery Riverboat Brawl, agree the video is a very powerful piece of literature that could be used as a teaching tool and open up critical dialogue around “Daddy Issues.” They are both extremely grateful to Kirk Franklin, a well-known Grammy award-winning artist who was vulnerable and candid enough to unapologetically and without shame or guilt share his story with the world. The video is approximately 35 minutes long of Franklin videoing the story of him at the age of 53 discovering who his biological father is after thinking for many years another man was his father. We will admit this is a very emotional video. So, please have your Kleenex ready.

They encourage viewers to be mindful that this is one Black man’s story about his own personal journey. “It does not represent all Black men,” they insist. “As we know, there are plenty of Black fathers who are actively engaged in their children’s lives. These study questions are in no way an indication or representation of all Black men. More often than not the media portrays Black fathers in a negative way. However, we salute all Black fathers who have taken their rightful place in fathering not only their children but other children as well.”

Disclaimer: The authors do not take any responsibility when viewing the video and discussing the study questions for any harm that might occur. They comment, “We do believe the benefits outweigh the risks and recommend should you or anyone you know experience any negative side effects while viewing this video or answering the discussion questions to please seek professional help. Additionally, be mindful that many of these questions come from a therapeutic viewpoint. Therefore, feel free to choose questions that best fit your circumstances and add or eliminate questions as you deem necessary.”

They add, “We also strongly recommend if you establish round-table groups or study group sessions to be sure to establish ground rules such as (1) What we say here stays here, (2) Be respectful of others’ opinions, (3) No interrupting others, (4), No gossiping about members in the group, (5) If there’s a topic being discussed that you find triggering you have the right to pass and not respond, (6) There should be no expectations for one person to speak for an entire group of people, (7) Avoid making generalized statements, and (8) Allow group members to develop a few groups rules of their own. This would give them a sense of ownership and be willing to uphold the group rules.”

Watch the Kirk Franklin documentary here:

Download the Curriculum Study Guide:

About the Professors

Dr. Linda J.M. Holloway is a Counselor Educator at Alabama State University and has been in academia for over 25 years. Dr. Holloway really enjoys finding innovative ways to keep her students engaged. One of the ways is through the use of movies and developing curriculum study guides. She says this helps her students to think critically about issues and move from theory to real-world application. Dr. Holloway is also a story activist and award-winning children’s book author and she enjoys using storytelling to educate, elevate, and empower children to believe in themselves and love who they are. She lives by her own motto ‘Dream your own Dreams’. She also encourages and inspires others to live out their own dreams for their life. You can find her books on Amazon.

Dr. April T. Berry is an Adjunct Professor and mental health professional who has a passion for teaching and approaching mental health from a holistic and well-rounded approach. She truly enjoys bringing her classes to life with fun, thought-provoking, and creative tools to enhance the classroom environment and learning experiences of her students. Additionally, she has a passion for peer mentoring, social justice, diversity outreach, and motivational speaking.

Dr. Berry lives by her life motto Always Climb and Maintain, where she seeks to strive for excellence in everything she does (e.g., climbing) but is reminded to stay grounded in those things she holds dear to her heart (e.g., maintaining). In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, reading, and relaxing.

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