Few artists can brag about having achieved a dozen Grammy Awards like Kirk Franklin has. Yet he continues to work as hard as ever both to continue producing great music as well as help upcoming artists achieve the same. A careful analysis of his life will, however, reveal that Kirk has not been perfect. However, the way in which he has handled his music and life, even in the face of weaknesses, failure, misfortune as well as great success is the essence of his characterization as having lived an exemplary life from the perspective of Benedictine’s values of excellence. Indeed, during his numerous appearances at awards ceremonies, Kirk has always admonished his fans to not only listen to his works but also observe and learn from the way he lives. This is the epitome of positive values, more so when it comes from a public figure in the showbiz world that is dominated by negative critics.
Getting a Grammy Award can be considered as having achieved the epitome in the American or even global music scene. Kirk achieved this over 20 years ago when he received his first Grammy Award in 1996 (Cunningham, 2017) . Instead of getting complacent and reveling in his success, Kirk instead aspired to achieve more, kept working harder and receiving more awards. Twenty years later, he is still working as hard and as smart as he did when he started his career. From the perspective of the Benedictine value of excellence, Kirk can be defined as having qualified for the same due to his principle of always seeking to better his best.
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Integrity has been a major issue kindred to the music industry where the desire to excel has caused musicians to abuse the intellectual property of others. Indeed, even some of the greatest musicians have been embroiled in litigation because of intellectual property issues. However, for over three decades that Kirk has been in the industry, he has never been accused of intellectual property infringements (Cunningham, 2017) . Instead, he has developed his own niche in the very competitive gospel music genre and excelled in it. Further, as a gospel musician, Kirk has been able to avoid scandals and accusations of living a life that does not conform to the philosophy of his music. All thesecan be considered as passing the integrity test.
Few people have had as great an excuse to be failures as Kirk did. Having been abandoned by his very young mother as an infant, Kirk was adopted by an aunt who collected and resold aluminum cans for a living. By the age of four, Kirk was learning how to play a piano keyboard while contemporaneously learning how to read and write (Cowen, 2010) . Yet even at the very young age, so committed was little Kirk that he got his fist contract offer at seven and was a choir master at twelve. His early success did not stop his from enrolling for formal training under Jewell Kelly while still in high school. He then organized a band in 1992 that became the first gospel group to sell over a million record copies (Cowen, 2010) . Success only brought to Kirk a desire to do better leading to his monumental success today.
Kirk is an evangelical Christian who sings about the gospel of Christ and Christian faith. Many evangelical Christians have been accused of being discriminatory in their approach to preaching the gospel in that they try to show the rest of society as condemned and evil. However, Kirk has always endeavored to be respectful and humble in his lyrics and also non-discriminatory in his message (Cunningham, 2017) . His message does not reflect an angry God who is going to send the evil world to hell. Instead, he sings about a God who is a loving father, ready and willing to accept and help all those who come to him. This makes for a respectful musician.
As indicated earlier, Kirk underwent a very troubled childhood after he was abandoned by his mother and being taken in by a poor aunt. Further to the same, he also had a troubled youth complete with a lot of wayward behavior that almost ruined his future (Cowen, 2010) . It is in these two dimensions that Kirk has been giving back to the community. He has been involved in charity works to help destitute children like he was. He is also involved in outreach program targeting young people to whom he teaches how to live a virtuous life (Cunningham, 2017) .
Since the 20 th day of January 1996, Kirk has been married to Tammy Collins. At the time of marriage, both Kirk and Tammy had a child each and after that, they have had two more children (Cunningham, 2017) . They now live together as a closely knit family. Being a good parent and spouse while at the same time an artist makes for a good steward. As aforesaid, Kirk is also involved in a lot of charitable work where he both collects monies and also spends a lot of his own.
As with all humans, Kirk cannot be considered to be perfect. However, as far as musicians go, he can be considered as being among the existing examples that one can be in showbiz and at the same time pursue a virtuous life full of positive values. Most importantly, Kirk has managed to be extremely successful, which means that it is not necessary to lack a moral standing so as to be successful in showbiz. Based on the Benedictine core values, Kirk can be considered as exemplary.
Cowen, D. (2010, May 20). Singer Kirk Franklin rises above stormy childhood . Retrieved July 11, 2017, from http://www.chron.com/life/houston-belief/article/Singer-Kirk-Franklin-rises-above-stormy-childhood-1708714.php
Cunningham, V. (2017, June 19). How Kirk Franklin is pushing the boundaries of gospel . Retrieved July 11, 2017, from http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/16/how-kirk-franklin-is-pushing-the-boundaries-of-gospel