It was another amazing Stellar Award winning weekend—all roads led to the country music capital of the world, which is also home to several major gospel record labels. Chicago’s Central City Production once again rolled out the red carpet as gospel celebs and luminaries gathered to receive and support the 29th annual Stellar Awards. “I am once again humbled by the continued growth of the Stellar Awards, which this year lead us to move to a bigger venue – double the size of the Grand Ole Opry,” says Don Jackson, founder and executive producer of the Stellar Awards. “The time, talent and commitment exhibited by the artists continues to make our sold out live show a must see event. I am thankful to the gospel music community for all their support.”
Of course, Chicago represented well with Donald Lawrence and Company performing smooth moves to his hit single, “The Gift”. Newcomer Jonathan McReynolds wowed the crowd with his beautiful acoustic urban gospel tune—No Gray. VaShawn Mitchell ended the set with McReynolds, Jonathan Nelson and Zacardi Cortez all lending their vocals to his every popular Turning Around For Me. Last year Anita Wilson performed but this year, she helped present an award and the Chairman of the board, Mr. Don Jackson introduced long time friend, Bishop Paul Morton to give honors to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. The charming elected official received the Thomas A. Dorsey Most Notable Award for her contributions on Capitol Hill in helping September become Gospel Heritage Month. Also, the founder and Pastor of Christian Tabernacle, Rev. Maceo Woods, received the Ambassador Bobby Jones Legends Award presented by the television host himself, Dr. Bobby Jones. Woods was one of the first gospel musicians to play at Madison Square Garden and the Apollo Theater. The organist and creator Gospel Supreme received the noted award and said, “Nothing good is ever lost.
Speaking of legendary, the Albertina Walker Female Vocalist of the Year was received by the star of TV’s Meet The Browns, Tamela Mann who also took home trophies for Artist of the Year along with a total of seven Stellar Awards for her music ministry. Chicago native comedienne turned television host, Sherri Shepherd of The View along with funny man and syndicated radio personality, Rickey Smiley of Dish Nation hosted the event and gave lots of laughs in between. “As a life long fan of gospel music it is truly an honor to host the 29th annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards,” says host Sherri Shepherd. Lastly, Pastor Charles Jenkins of Fellowship Baptist helped present song of the year—and the winner was Kirk Franklin who wrote the massive song, Take Me to The King for Tamela Mann.
Speaking of awards—congratulations to the amazingly talented Donald Lawrence for the NAACP Image Award nominations for Outstanding Gospel Album—Traditional or Contemporary. The Donald shared the nom with Tamela Mann, Shirley Caesar, Bishop Hezekiah Walker and the Black Nativity motion picture soundtrack.
Kudos to Rev. T.L. Barrett who recently celebrated his 70th birthday with a star-studded concert on last Sunday, at his church, Life Center COGIC. Special guests from all over shared in the holy-ghost filled services such as the Royal Voice of Life Choir, Percy Gray and Joshua’s Troop, Tyrone Block & LSD and the Victory Travelers.
Pastor John Henton wants to thank you for praying for his dad, Apostle Richard D. Henton of Monument of Faith Church who recently experienced some health challenges. “We thank you for your prayers, Apostle Richard D. Henton is improving and today he lifted His hands giving praise to God! Please continue to keep him in prayer and we will keep you updated. “The effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much.” In June of last year, there was a citywide celebration for the 80 year old founder of R.D. Henton Breakthrough Ministry. Stellar and Grammy Award winning artists and ministers in the gospel were in support including Rance Allen, Edwin Hawkins, Ricky Dillard, Rev. Jesse Jackson as well as several city and state officials.
Condolences to the family and friends of Rev. R.L Mitchell, Pastor of Old Landmark Church of God in Chicago who passed on Dec. 29. His home going services were held at the church last Saturday, Jan. 11. Last year, a block of the street near the church on 72nd and Jeffrey was named in his honor where he had pastored for 58 years.
Happy belated birthday blessings to FLOTUS Michelle Obama (1/17), Bishop William Hudson, III, Nate Thompson, Shawn Knight and Rev. Roy Patterson
“Remember—You are Blessed by the Best!”
Effie Rolfe is a speaker, media personality and author of “A Moment to Super Size Your Thinking.” You can contact her effierolfe.com or on twitter.com/effiedrolfe.