Words by Dominique Clark:
The best in the gospel industry showed up and showed out virtually during the 35th Stellar Awards Anniversary celebration. The “Greatest Night in Gospel Music” awarding the incredible artists who provide messages of hope, inspiration and faith to the world daily.
Hosted by the legendary Kirk Franklin and new school superstars Jonathan McReynolds and Koryn Hawthorn, the Stellar Awards premiered on BET Networks as a two-hour virtual special honoring the roles of first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic and taking viewers to church with moving performances by some of this year’s top nominees and gospel favorites.
“This is when we come together. We can give so much to our community with all of these songs…the messaging in these songs relate to overcoming and having faith in what we’re going through now. I think it will be the most inspirational, uplifting and motivational program we’ve ever done.”– Don Jackson, Executive Producer and Stellar Awards Founder
Before the show began, the fabulous Jekalyn Carr hosted the Stellar Awards virtual red carpet, bringing us dope conversation and stellar style at home with gospel greats including James Fortune, Marvin Sapp, Pastor John P. Kee, Tauren Wells and CeCe Winans who announced for the first time that she’s going to be a grandmother.
Winans also hit the virtual stage with a powerful tribute to the late Congressman John Lewis signing A Bridge Over troubled Water.
Harmonious uplifting and visually- impressive performances moved us all throughout the night, from the incredible Anthony Brown, Pastor Mike Jr., JJ Hairston and Co-host Koryn Hawthorne, who performed her new single Pray from her sophomore album. In sharing her thoughts on hosting a nationally syndicated show for the first time, Hawthorne said,
“I’m happy that we got to do this in a time like this…I was grateful for the opportunity before the pandemic, but I think that after all of these things that are happening in the world it means a lot more that we get to inspire people with this show in this time.”
Hawthorne wasn’t the only one filled with thanks, as top nominee this year, Donald Lawrence, walked away with 4 awards for his work on his most recent project, Goshen.
“Just to be here 25 years later and still have music that they consider cutting edge and to be acknowledge, I’m grateful”Donald Lawrence
The night’s big winner, taking home 6 statutes, was gospel icon and host Kirk Franklin who spoke to the reality of being a gospel artist during these trying times.
“We have this duality that we have to walk through to try to inspire, but at the same time speak truth.”Kirk Franklin
And that’s exactly what he did with his popular project Long Live Love.
“We put it in God’s hands and he worked it out. It was more than we could have imagined.”Show Founder Don Jackson
Pink IlluminanceTM sends a huge congratulations to all the Stellar Awards nominees and winners! And as the first and oldest televised Gospel Awards show honoring Gospel Music, the 35thStellar Awards not only made history with its first virtual production, but it lifted the hearts and minds of viewers and gave us all a piece of hope to hold on to. For more on the Stellar’s 35th Anniversary celebration visit www.stellarawards.com