Gospel music stars shine at 33rd Stellar Awards ceremony
Free Press wire reports | 3/30/2018, 11:41 a.m.
Free Press wire report
Gospel singer, composer and choir director James “JJ” Hairston was the top winner last weekend at the 33rd Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards, winning six awards.
Travis Greene won the Artist of the Year award, while Tasha Cobb Leonard won the Albertina Walker Female Vocalist of the Year award. Each won a total of four awards.
The ceremony, held last Saturday at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, included mainstream musical acts Snoop Dogg and Tori Kelly, as well as a reunion by the sister duo Mary Mary. Kirk Franklin hosted the awards show.
The Stellar Awards honor gospel music artists, writers and other industry professionals for their contributions to the field.
JJ Hairston & the Youthful Praise won Song of the Year for “You Deserve It,” and also Praise and Worship CD of the Year for the album of the same name.
WFMI Rejoice 100.9 FM in Virginia Beach won the Gospel Radio Station of the Year award for medium markets. The station, under Mike Chandler, CEO of the REJOICE! Musical Soul Food Gospel Radio Network, also broadcasts to North Carolina.
Mr. Chandler won a Stellar Award in 2017 for Gospel Announcer of the Year for his nationally syndicated morning show Mike Chandler & Friends, and the station also was nominated last year for Radio Station of the Year.
Other major awards went to actress-singer-songwriter Tamela Mann, the James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award; the late Bishop Kenneth H. Moales Sr., founder of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bridgeport, Conn., and former president of the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses, the Thomas A. Dorsey Most Notable Achievement Award; singer-songwriter and producer Milton Biggham, executive director of Savoy Records, the Bobby Jones Legend Award; and the late gospel musician Edwin Hawkins, one of the originators of the urban contemporary gospel sound, the Icon Award.
Former pro basketball player Ben Tankard, known as the godfather of gospel jazz, and Dr. Marabeth Gentry Kurt Carr, president of the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses, were inducted into the Stellar Honors Hall of Fame.
The awards are to premiere Friday, March 30, on TV One and will be syndicated on other networks through May.