GOSPEL ICON KIRK FRANKLIN TOPS WINNERS LIST WITH SIX TROPHIES AT HISTORIC 35TH ANNIVERSARY STELLAR GOSPEL MUSIC AWARDS VIRTUAL SPECIAL ON BET & BET HER SUNDAY NIGHT
From Moving Tributes Honoring Rep. John Lewis and COVID-19 First Responders to Stirring Songs of Inspiration, Power and Praise, Tamela Mann, CeCe Winans, Anthony Brown, James Fortune, Travis Greene, Kierra Sheard, Marvin Sapp, Tye Tribbett and More Deliver Epic Performances
REPLAY THE HIGHLIGHTS AND BIGGEST MOMENTS WHEN STELLAR AWARDS AIRS IN SYNDICATION NATIONWIDE AUGUST 29 --SEPTEMBER 27
Not even a global pandemic could diminish the powerful spirit of praise, worship and celebration during the historic virtual broadcast of the Stellar Gospel Music Awards Sunday night on BET and BET Her. Led by hosts Kirk Franklin, Jonathan McReynolds, and Koryn Hawthorne, the 35th Anniversary Stellar Gospel Music Awards awarded trophies in 28 categories for the year's best performances in the genre -- including six statues presented to the night’s big winner, host and Gospel icon Kirk Franklin.
From the first moments featuring welcome remarks by Stellar Awards Founder and Executive Producer Don Jackson and powerful show open by Tye Tribbett of his uplifting anthem “We Gon’ Be Alright,” through the final credit roll, the “Greatest Night in Gospel Music” lived up to its claim to fame. Virtually bringing together the nation’s Gospel community to offer hope and inspiration during these turbulent times, among the evening’s highlights are a moving tribute to the late Congressman John Lewis by CeCe Winans, who performed “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and special recognition to COVID-19 first responder heroes.
Franklin’s work on Long Live Love earned him five Stellar Awards for Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year, Producer of the Year, Contemporary Male Vocalist of the Year, and Contemporary Album of the Year. Franklin earned an additional Song of the Year trophy for his work on "Love Theory." Gospel great Donald Lawrence presents the Tri-City Singers received four Stellar Awards for work on the Goshen project including Choir of the Year and Contemporary Choir of the Year, as well as Song of the Year and Urban/Inspirational Single or Performance of the Year for "Deliver Me (This is My Exodus)." Gospel legend John P. Kee's I Made It Out delivered three Stellar Awards for Traditional Male Vocalist, Traditional Album of the Year and Traditional Choir of the Year.
Singer/songwriter Tasha Cobbs Leonard garnered two trophies for Artist of the Year and Contemporary Female Vocalist of the Year for her project Heart, Passion, Pursuit, while Le'Andria Johnson earned two for her work on Donald Lawrence's project, Goshen in the categories Albertina Walker Female Vocalist of the Year Award and the Traditional Female Vocalist of the Year. The Walls Group received two statues for Duo Group of the Year and Contemporary Duo Group of the Year for their album Friend in Me, along with newcomer Pastor Mike Jr. who took home a pair of Stellar Awards for New Artist of the Year and Rap/Hip Hop Gospel Album of the Year for his work on Live Free. Kurt Carr received two Stellar awards, one as an artist (Traditional Duo/Chorus Group of the Year) and another for Recorded Music Packaging of the Year for the Bless Somebody Else project.
Rounding out the night with one Stellar Award each were JJ Hairston (Praise and Worship Album of the Year), Ben Tankard (Instrumental Album of the Year), Gospel Kids (Youth Project of the Year), Keith Wonderboy Johnson (Quartet of the Year) and Greenleaf; Season 3 (Special Event Album of the Year).
Performers raised the bar with awe-inspiring renditions of their work calling attention to social justice and other challenges facing our society. Breathtaking and visually-stunning performances were delivered by Tamela Mann, Anthony Brown, James Fortune, Koryn Hawthorne, J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise, Jonathan McReynolds, Travis Greene, Kierra Sheard, Marvin Sapp, Tye Tribbett, Tauren Wells, Zacardi Cortez, Pastor Mike Jr, DOE, and Rich Tolbert Jr. Emerging artists making their Stellar Awards debut, Group Fire, Keyla Richardson, Melvin Crispell III, and Titus Showers joined a rich legacy of 35 years of excellence in Gospel music.
The show’s hosts visited first responder heroes on the front lines of the Coronavirus pandemic in Dallas, Nashville and Chicago, expressing gratitude for their sacrifice and bestowing commemorative Stellar Awards lapel pins in honor of their service. In addition, several healthcare professionals and civic organizations were highlighted for their efforts to combat the deadly pandemic. The segments were made possible with the generous support of sponsors AT&T, State Farm, Toyota, Procter & Gamble, McDonalds and AARP.
The Stellar Gospel Music Awards show is Executive Produced by Don Jackson, with Jennifer J. Jackson serving as Producer and Executive in Charge of Production. Michael A. Johnson serves as Producer and Director for this year's award show. The Stellar Awards is presented by AT&T and recognizes the year's best performances in the genre, honors Gospel music icons and acknowledges the accomplishments of individuals instrumental in advocating for the industry.
To relive all of the highlights, viewers can watch the Stellar Awards in national broadcast syndication in 210 markets starting August 29 – September 27 (check local listings). Follow @thestellars for the latest news and updates about the greatest night in Gospel music.
The Cool Kids...Kirk Franklin, Jonathan McReynolds and Koryn Hawthorne
Here Are Your Winners...
Category #1 ARTIST OF THE YEAR Tasha Cobbs Leonard; Heart. Passion. Pursuit. (Live at Passion City Church); Motown Gospel Category #2 SONG OF THE YEAR Deliver Me (This Is My Exodus); Donald Lawrence, William Stokes, Marshon Lewis, Robert Woolridge & Desmond Davis; RCA Inspiration Category #3 MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR Kirk Franklin; Long Live Love; Fo Yo Soul/ RCA/ RCA Inspiration CATEGORY #4 ALBERTINA WALKER FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR Le'Andria Johnson; Goshen; RCA Inspiration CATEGORY #5 DUO/CHORUS GROUP OF THE YEAR The Walls Group, Friend in Me, Wall2Wall Entertainment/My Block Records CATEGORY #6 NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR Pastor Mike Jr.; Live Free; Black Smoke Worldwide CATEGORY #7 ALBUM OF THE YEAR Long Live Love; Kirk Franklin; Fo Yo Soul/ RCA/ RCA Inspiration CATEGORY #8 CHOIR OF THE YEAR Donald Lawrence presents the Tri-City Singers; Goshen; RCA Inspiration
CATEGORY #9 PRODUCER OF THE YEAR Kirk Franklin, Ronald Hill & Phil Thornton; Long Live Love; Fo Yo Soul/ RCA/ RCA Inspiration CATEGORY #10 CONTEMPORARY DUO/CHORUS GROUP OF THE YEAR The Walls Group, Friend in Me, Wall2Wall Entertainment/My Block Records CATEGORY #11 TRADITIONAL DUO/CHORUS GROUP OF THE YEAR Kurt Carr & The Kurt Carr Singers; Bless Somebody Else; Kurt Carr Gospel / RCA Inspiration CATEGORY #12 CONTEMPORARY MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR Kirk Franklin; Long Live Love; Fo Yo Soul/ RCA/ RCA Inspiration CATEGORY #13 TRADITIONAL MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR John P. Kee; I Made It Out; Entertainment One CATEGORY #14 CONTEMPORARY FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR Tasha Cobbs Leonard; Heart. Passion. Pursuit. (Live at Passion City Church); Motown Gospel CATEGORY #15 TRADITIONAL FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR Le'Andria Johnson; Goshen; RCA Inspiration CATEGORY #16 CONTEMPORARY ALBUM OF THE YEAR Long Live Love; Kirk Franklin; Fo Yo Soul/ RCA/ RCA Inspiration
CATEGORY #17 TRADITIONAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR I Made It Out; John P. Kee; Entertainment One CATEGORY #18 URBAN/INSPIRATIONAL SINGLE OR PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR Deliver Me (This Is My Exodus); Donald Lawrence presents the Tri-City Singers; RCA Inspiration CATEGORY #19 MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR Love Theory; Matt DeLisi; Fo Yo Soul/ RCA/ RCA Inspiration CATEGORY #20 TRADITIONAL CHOIR OF THE YEAR John P. Kee; I Made It Out; Entertainment One CATEGORY #21 CONTEMPORARY CHOIR OF THE YEAR Donald Lawrence presents the Tri-City Singers; Goshen; RCA Inspiration CATEGORY #22 INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR Rise!; Ben Tankard; BEN-Jamin' Universal Music CATEGORY #23 SPECIAL EVENT ALBUM OF THE YEAR Greenleaf: Season 3 (Music from The Original TV Series); Various Artists; Lionsgate Entertainment CATEGORY #24 RAP HIP HOP GOSPEL ALBUM OF THE YEAR Live Free; Pastor Mike Jr.; Black Smoke Worldwide CATEGORY #25 YOUTH PROJECT OF THE YEAR Gospel Kids; Gospel Kids Present... Christian Soldiers; Tyscot Records
CATEGORY #26 QUARTET OF THE YEAR Keith Wonderboy Johnson & Josh Myles; Inspirational Project; Timeless Music CATEGORY #27 RECORDED MUSIC PACKAGING OF THE YEAR Bless Somebody Else; Derek Blanks; Kurt Carr Gospel / RCA Inspiration CATEGORY #28 PRAISE AND WORSHIP ALBUM OF THE YEAR Miracle Worker; JJ Hairston; JamesTown Music / Entertainment One
GOSPEL RADIO OF THE YEAR WINNERS
MAJOR MARKET OF THE YEAR WPZE Praise 102.5, Atlanta LARGE MARKET OF THE YEAR WPZS Praise 100.9 FM, Charlotte MEDIUM MARKET OF THE YEAR WXHL 89.1, Wilmington SMALL MARKET OF THE YEAR WJAY 98.3 FM & 1280 AM, Mullins INTERNET STATION OF THE YEAR U Gospel, http://uGospel.com GOSPEL ANNOUNCER OF THE YEAR Meta Washington, SiriusXM, Satellite Radio
Pastor Tye Tribbett kicked off the evening of virtual performances with his pandemic inspired anthem, "We Gon Be Alright". Sure to send a clear message about where he stands on the issue, he wore "Christ matters" on the back of his denim jacket. Viewers were treated to a surprising performance by gospel legend Cece Winans who performed "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as a tribute to the late Congressman John Lewis and first responders. She was accompanied by her producer D'wan Hill. Tamela Mann is back with a message for us all, we need a touch from the Lord and shared her concept video for her latest single. The hosts got in on the action with videos from Koryn Hawthorne and Jonathan McReynolds. Hawthorne shared her new single "Speak to Me" and McReynolds debuted a new concept video for his single "Best Thing." Get used to hearing and see Doe Jones...in addition to her breakout with Jonathan McReynolds on his instant classic, "Cycles", she's making a name for herself as a solo artist. The former lead of "Forever Jones" hit the virtual stage with Pastor Travis Greene and played piano and guitar opposite the multi-talented pastor and singer! New to gospel, blazing hot in CCM Tauren Wells shared performed his new song, giving gospel viewers a taste of what's to come from the rising CCM star! Closing the show, JJ Hairston and Youthful Praise performed their mega hit, Miracle Worker. It's an award show, so it's customary to go BIG and BIG they went! After taking home two awards, the group performed the song with Hairston and leader/writer Rich Tolbert out front but added Kierra Sheard to the mix! If you missed the performance, don't fret..the version is available on streaming platforms!