Tonight, music fans, Gospel enthusiasts and anyone looking for a little inspiration can tune into the highly-anticipated 35th Anniversary Stellar Gospel Music Awards premiering on BET and BET Her as a two-hour virtual special on Sunday, August 23 at 6 p.m. ET/5C (with an encore at 9 p.m. ET). The award show will also run in national broadcast syndication in 210 markets starting August 29 – September 27 (check local listings).
Serving as hosts, the award-winning trio of Kirk Franklin, Jonathan McReynolds and Koryn Hawthorne artfully guide viewers through the virtual salute to 35 years of excellence as "The Greatest Night in Gospel Music" with inspirational performances from Gospel music's most celebrated artists. Filmed from various locations, the pre-taped special acknowledges all award winners from the "Road to Stellars" pre-show and the main show, with select categories being presented in the broadcast.
One of the evening's highlights will feature special segments honoring the late Congressman John Lewis with a musical tribute by Cece Winans and contributions of first responder heroes on the front lines of the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic, sponsored by AT&T, AARP, State Farm, Toyota, and Proctor & Gamble. As part of the tribute, hosts Franklin, McReynolds and Hawthorne visited frontline workers and presented special Stellar Awards lapel pins in recognition of their service at MeHarry Medical College in Nashville, TN; Jackson Park Hospital in Chicago, IL; and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, TX. In addition, several individuals were highlighted for their efforts to combat the deadly pandemic: Dr. Angela Mosby of Los Angeles, CA for her work at UCLA Urgent Care in the area of Telemedicine; Dr. Michele Reed of Queens NY, a family medicine practitioner who contracted and recovered from COVID-19 while serving others; and Dr. Leon McDougle, the 121st President of the National Medical Association who also serves as a member of the NCAA Coronavirus Panel and Chief Diversity Officer of OSU Medical School. Two organizations have also been noted for their work to combat the devastating effects of COVID-19 on communities of color, the National Urban League and the National Medical Association.
"This is a moment to come together," said veteran Stellar Awards co-host Kirk Franklin. "We have something very important to say to a world that needs this kind of music, with this particular message, now more than ever. The Stellar Awards is going to provide that as they have for 35 years."
Performers include Tamela Mann, Anthony Brown, CeCe Winans, 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, Rich Tolbert Jr., and more. Emerging artists set to make their Stellar Awards debut include Group Fire, Keyla Richardson, Melvin Crispell III, and Titus Showers.
The Stellar Awards 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. Previously announced nominees for the 2020 Stellar Awards include veteran Gospel collective Donald Lawrence Presents The Tri-City Singers, who leads the field of nominees with nine nominations. Other top nominees include Gospel icon and Stellar Awards Host, Kirk Franklin and powerhouse singer, producer and performer Tasha Cobbs Leonard with eight nominations each; JJ Hairston (7 Nominations), Bishop Paul S. Morton (6 Nominations), John P. Kee (5 Nominations), Kurt Carr & The Kurt Carr Singers (4 Nominations), William Murphy (4 Nominations), Pastor Mike, Jr. (4 Nominations), Maranda Curtis (3 Nominations), and Fresh Start Worship (3 Nominations) round out the field of top nominated artists. For the complete list of the 35th Anniversary Stellar Gospel Music Awards nominees, please visit www.thestellarawards.com
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