JJ Hairston and Deitrick Haddon prepare for McDonald's 2018 Gospel Tour

McDonald’s is serving up more than food to communities across the world. They’ve committed to deals on food service and to helping others with programs such as the Ronald McDonald House Charities, The McDonald’s HACER Scholarship, 365Black, My InspirAsian, and McDonald’s International.
McDonald’s is now returning with one of its essential events and is bringing highly acclaimed gospel artists Deitrick Haddon and JJ Hairston with them on the 12th Annual Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour. This is the longest-running, brand-owned gospel tour of its kind with an award-winning talent lineup sure to please fans nationwide.
McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour is an extension of the brand’s 365Black platform, an initiative that celebrates the pride, heritage and achievements of African-Americans year-round.

JJ Hairston

This year’s lineup of award-winning talent includes Deitrick Haddon, JJ Hairston, Donald Lawrence, Ricky Dillard,  LéAndria Johnson, Todd Dulaney and Canton Jones.
As with previous years, the tour will celebrate McDonald’s continued devotion to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC). At each stop, the national tour will raise a love offering to support families served by the charity. In just the last five years, the love offering has raised nearly $800,000 to aid in helping families stay close when their children are ill. The charity raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars in 2017 alone.
As a new part of the tour, McDonald’s will award one HBCU college student with a $10,000 Thurgood Marshall College Fund Scholarship at a select tour stop during the Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour. This is one of five scholarships McDonald’s is sponsoring throughout the year.
To show love to McDonald’s and give back to Chicago Families in advance, Hairston and Haddon came to Chicago this past month for a day to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House near the Lurie Children’s Hospital. Haddon and Hairston interacted with guests and helped serve meals to the families. They prayed for families, talked to them about personal matters and also learned about the Ronald McDonald House and why it’s established.
RMHC is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) corporation that creates, finds, and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families. The work is carried out through its global network of nearly 290 chapters in more than 64 countries and regions, and its three core programs: the Ronald McDonald House, the Ronald McDonald Family Room and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.

Haddon said he learned a lot during his visit. “There is a very spiritual point about this Ronald McDonald’s House; I know it’s not a church or whatever but they’re doing something special to relieve the pressure from families who are going through a tough season and having to deal with hospitalizing their children and having to spend money while they’re going through that. For the Ronald McDonald House to relieve that pressure and some of that cost for families, that is amazing and that is the way of God, that’s God’s love.”
Hairston was also grateful to be a part of something meaningful.  “I really respect this and I wanted to be a part of something where you can come out to worship and praise (the tour) but also give back to the community; that’s what the Ronald McDonald House does; that’s what the McDonald’s inspirational Gospel Tour does and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
This is Haddon’s first time on the Gospel Tour. In addition to his gospel performances, he was one of the cast members in Oxygen’s 2013 reality television show, “Preachers of L.A.” Drawing on a range of music that extends from classic soul to hip-hop, he is best known for developing gospel and modern-day styles of music. Haddon has made a point of using his music as a ministry to reach all people.
“The community has really held me down for years, Chicago, Detroit, all the cities in the U.S., they have really held me down. While singing gospel music, God has really blessed me to do some great things… so it’s important for me to give back anyway that I can; it’s an honor for me.”
Haddon also has a Chicago Choir “League Of Xtraodinary Worshippers.”  Haddon states, “It’s a group of young people who love Chi-town. Please request them for any events, it’s free, they will come out and they’re all about showing the young people that you can direct your energy in a positive direction like singing.”
He encourages families and everyone in general on how to stay strong during tough seasons. “Anybody having difficulties right now, that trouble won’t last always; seasons must change, seasons were made to change; it’s impossible for you to stay in the same season forever so your job is to make sure you don’t give up,” shared Haddon.
This is also Hairston’s first time on the Gospel Tour. He is the leader, chief songwriter, and director of the Youthful Praise choir, known for its exuberant, urban-tinged gospel and praise and worship songs.  Youthful Praise has delivered hit singles like “Incredible God, Incredible Praise” and “You Deserve It.”
“I’m hoping that our music will keep people encouraged and keep people full of hope and faith and fearlessness because we don’t want you to be worried or consumed by fear; even in the midst of the threats of war, you know our God is going to take care of us so that’s what I want people to feel when they hear our music,” said Hairston.
This free concert will kick off in Chicago on Thursday, May 17, at Chicago State University in The Jones Convocation Center. Haddon stated that he is not only celebrating the love of Christ and people on May 17, but also his birthday. “If you want to bring gifts, I wear a size 9 ½ and medium jackets, whatever y’all, get me something (laughs).”
Tickets are free and available right now on the McDonalds.com website under the community and 365black category.

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