With Kirk Franklin as Host, Mary Mary To Reunite & Snoop Dogg to Perform at 2018 Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards SATURDAY!

Hello World,

Central City Productions announces a dazzling line-up of performers for the 2018 Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards, including the reunion of contemporary gospel music’s favorite sister act, Mary Mary (Erica Campbell and Tina Campbell), and the Stellar Award’s debut of rapper, actor, and television personality Snoop Dogg, performing songs from his new gospel album “Songs of Love” at this year’s show. Celebrated as a “transcendent night of gospel music,” the 33rd Annual Stellar Awards promises to surpass its ‘stellar’ reputation, featuring performances by the genre’s hottest acts. Performers scheduled to appear include: Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Travis Greene, Tye Tribbett, Anthony Brown & group therAPy, Kierra Sheard, KeKe Wyatt, Jonathan McReynolds, Tasha Page-Lockhart, Todd Dulaney, Koryn Hawthorne and Ricky Dillard & New G, among others. Returning to Las Vegas’ Orleans Arena on Saturday, March 24, 2018 the Stellar Awards welcomes the return of the undisputed crown prince of contemporary gospel music, Kirk Franklin, as host.

The Stellar Awards telecast will premiere on TV One on Friday, March 30 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT and air in broadcast syndication on 130 stations in more than 110 markets around the country March 31 – May 6, 2018.

Franklin is happy to be back in the role of host of the annual celebration. “Since my first step onto the Stellar Awards stage as a 23-year-old kid from Texas, I’ve lived, breathed and committed all I’ve had to this incredible genre called gospel,” he stated. “To find myself now still blessed to serve the community I love so dearly as their host of the 2018 Stellar Awards, that young kid feels alive again and more grateful than ever. We’re working hard to bring to the world the best and the brightest along with the icons and legends, the greatest night of God’s music at a time when the country needs our melody the most. Thank you and I’ll see you in Vegas.”

This year’s spectacular show open will feature Stellar Awards alum Erica Campbell reuniting with her sister Tina Campbell as the hit gospel duo Mary Mary for the first time in more than six years. The show will include an all-star tribute to the late, great Edwin Hawkins, with his sister Lynette Hawkins accepting the Edwin Hawkins Icon Award in his honor. Also expected to deliver stand out moments are the multi-platinum award-winning Snoop Dogg performing material from his new gospel album and collaborating with Tye Tribbett. 

“Each year we strive to bring new and innovative performances and collaborations to the Stellar Awards and this year is no different, with the inclusion of mainstream hip-hop rapper and mogul, Snoop Dogg.” stated Stellar Awards Founder, Don Jackson. “Snoop expressed his desire to release a gospel album in honor of his mom who is an evangelist and he’s teamed up with Gospel superstar Tye Tribbett, there’s no way we couldn’t bring this explosive performance to the Stellar Awards stage.”

2018 Stellar Award’s multi-nominee and previous host, Anthony Brown, returns this year to perform and looks forward to sharing something special with the fans. “The Stellar Awards has always been such a blessing to gospel music creators and gospel music lovers worldwide. It provides for us a platform and opportunity to share our message and our gifts with the world,” shared Brown. “I am so excited to take the stage again at this year’s Stellar Awards. It’s always so humbling and exciting. group therAPy and I are working on something special this year. I can’t wait for you to see it.”

Don Jackson will bestow special honors upon gospel greats who have made significant contributions to the genre. The incomparable Tamela Mann is this year’s recipient of the James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award and the legendary Rev. Milton Biggham will receive The Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones Legends Award. Stellar Honors Hall of Fame Inductees includes Kurt Carr, Ben Tankard, and Dr. Marabeth Gentry – President of the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses.

The Stellar Awards show taping is open to the public, with ticket prices ranging from $50 – $200 at www.ticketmaster.com. 

The Stellar Gospel Music Awards Pre-Show is scheduled for Friday, March 23 hosted by Lexi Allen and Lonnie Hunter. Among the artists performing at the Orleans Showroom that evening: Next Generation Choir, Judah Band, Tasha Page Lockhart, Isaiah D. Thomas, Ruth La’Ontra, Bryan Popin and Jason Nelson

The Stellar Gospel Radio Awards & Showcase will be held earlier on Saturday, March 24, honoring the top radio stations and announcers who most notably serve urban gospel music audiences. This show is also full of spirit-stirring performances by newcomers Isabel Davis, Gene Moore and Kelontae Gavin; seasoned sensations Donishisa Ballard and Jason Champion; and quartet group The Virginia Aires. The event is hosted by VaShawn Mitchelland Meta Washington and is the perfect kickoff to the big show the same day. Tickets for each event can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.

More of the biggest names in gospel and a few additional surprises are being added to the growing list of top performers and presenters appearing in this year’s show. For more information, visit www.thestellarawards.com. Follow on social media for the latest news and updates about the greatest night in gospel! 

Any thoughts?

From Doomed to Doctor – NEW BOOK ALERT!!!

Hello World,

I am a born storyteller. If you ask me a simple question, I am likely to give the answer plus many more extraneous details that you probably didn’t ask to hear. But I will tell you anyway because just about anything can be made into a story when that is your gift from God. And while that is true, there are stories. And there are stories that must be told because in their telling they have the capacity to bring joy, inspire change and unshackle chains. The best stories have these qualities.

Years ago, through some mutual friends, I met Dr. Bonita J. Gay-Senior, and as we became friends, as friends do, we shared various details from our lives. As she would share a snippet here or there, I began to realize that this woman had been through some situations that would have caused many people to collapse into themselves, sentencing their souls to be among the walking dead. Have you ever met a person who was so beaten up by life, they seem to operate on autopilot? I have, and it is startling. Others would have retreated to a maze of deadening behaviors to distract themselves from the pain. And some would have taken what was never theirs to take: their very lives. She shared about being mercilessly teased by not only by her classmates but by her brothers as well.  The teasing was so toxic, she was later diagnosed as having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Her first boyfriend punched her face so hard that he broke part of one of her front teeth. On one occasion, he pointed a loaded gun at her face and threatened to shoot her. Despite the abuse, she dropped a warrant she had against him and had to go to jail for perjury (although she was telling the truth initially.)! When she was in her freshman year in college, she was raped by two men. Sometime later, while still in college, she got pregnant by another man. She watched a brother commit suicide by cop. Her only sister disappeared and has not been found to date.

And yet, the woman I met was a decorated teacher on the way to earning her doctorate in education at Clark Atlanta University. Laughter punctuated nearly all of her sentences. Her optimism rekindled that wonder that all children experience before the duties of adulthood and appropriateness take over. She had a trove of wisdom that she freely shared. ‘How did this woman come to be,’ I asked myself before I eventually found the courage to say the words aloud to her. She was surprised that I was surprised. She thought that many had suffered through similar challenges. I agreed that all of us suffer through challenges but not many people start from so low to ascend to so high. I know a good story when I hear one.

I kept telling her this until she decided to tell the whole story in a book From DOOMED to DOCTOR 280 Chestnut Street: Born in the Crack but Didn’t FALL Through.”  (In fact, she shouted me out in the acknowledgements!) On the very street, Chestnut Street (which has since been changed to to James P. Brawley Drive), where she experienced most of her childhood abuse is the very street where she received her doctorate degree years later at 48 years old (I was there cheering her on 🙂 )! It’s amazing how God can use the details of our lives to demonstrate that He has brought us from a mighty long way. And she says God is who redeemed her tests into a testimony. She is using her story to mentor other women who have experienced similar challenges.

If you would like to meet her and get a copy of her book, join her at the One Love Spiritual Center, 180 Lakepoint Lane, Fayetteville, Georgia 30215 (Lakemont Subdivision) TODAY at 3 p.m.  She is the featured Women’s History Month Speaker!

But if you don’t live here in the A but want to read her story, her book From DOOMED to DOCTOR 280 Chestnut Street: Born in the Crack but Didn’t FALL Through” is available on Amazon! And if you like to know more about Dr. Bonita, go to her website fromdoomedtodoctor.com.

Any thoughts?

Former Pastor Mase To Reemerge at World Changers Church International’s Radical Revolution Conference

Hello World,

Y’all betta be glad I’m not God. I woulda banished some of y’all below just because you looked like you were judging me. And that’s what I’m trying to remember this morning as I type this blog post. I’m not God and just because I interpret something as being a certain way, that may not be the truth. Only God knows the condition of the hearts of men and women. So here’s the deal. Ya man Mase, or Pastor Mase as he was known in 2014, left his church that he founded as he got caught up in the rapture of rap it seems. I was so befuddled by his departure that I wrote an open letter on UrbanFaith.com. See an excerpt below:

Dear Mason Betha aka Murder Ma$e aka S.A.N.E. Minister Mason Betha aka Pastor Betha of El Elyon International Church,

I’m trying so hard not to judge you right now, but what is you doin’ man? (I’m sayin’ this Atlanta style since that is where you have lived since 1999.) I just read on TMZ that you, the pastor of El Elyon International Church, up and dipped on your congregation and returned to the “rap game full time.” Where they do that at? I knew something was up when, while flipping through television channels last week, I saw you rappin’ on some video and cheesin’ it up with your infectious smile like you did before you left Bad Boy for the ministry back in the day. And I wasn’t the only one that was confused. In a recent interview with The Breakfast Club, rapper Ja Rule—who seems to be finding his own way to faith–was asked about your return to the rap industry. According to a Madame Noire post of that interview he said, “I’m very confused by what Mase is doing. I don’t know if that’s cool or not. I wouldn’t play with the Lord like that.” Say that! Too read the full letter, to urbanfaith.com.

And then as recently as November 2017, Fader reported Mase is still beefin’ with rapper Cam’ron.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Cam’ron and Mase stoked the flames of an old beef, trading diss tracks back and forth. On Friday, Mase shared “The Oracle” and promptly took to Genius to annotate it. Cam’ron responded on Saturday night with “Dinner Time,” in which he alleges that Mase retired from rap to run a Ponzi scheme and calling into question his roots in Harlem. See the full article at thefader.com.

Dude released a diss track in which he was cussin’ and what not. Now, I don’t believe that if a cuss word escapes your lips, you’re headed to hell, but I just don’t think that God is pleased by this particular demonstration. But hey, I could be wrong. And furthermore, it seems downright silly to be spending time on a diss track at 40 years old. The only diss I’m worried about this age is “diss”ease. I hope this “beef” was all for show because Christian or not, we too old for that…Go cut some grass or something…That’s what men do at this age…

Me looking at Mase during the Men’s Panel…

All that to say, Grammy-nominated rapper Mason Betha and Grammy-Award winning singer/songwriter Johnta Austin among others will be featured in the the highly anticipated Men’s Panel (which will be offered for free to men) to be held during the 2018 Radical Revolution Conference at World Changers Church International in College Park, Georgia starting tomorrow, March 15 through Saturday, March 17.

Hosted by Pastor Taffi Dollar and the church’s Radical Women’s Ministry, the purpose of the three-day event is to bring clarity on gender equality in relationships, leadership, and business at a time of increasing confusion that exists in both the church and society. It will feature some of the biggest names in spiritual leadership and music including WCCI founder Creflo Dollar; businesswoman, author, and media personality, Sarah Jakes Roberts; well-known author and speaker Lisa Bevere; Grammy-Award winner Tasha Cobbs Leonard; gospel singer/songwriter and actor Micah Stampley and more.  Ticket prices vary with offerings for students, individuals, and groups.  A VIP Experience is also available and includes a Meet & Greet, a Dining and Listening Lounge, and giveaways, among other benefits.

For more information, go to eventbrite.com.

Any thoughts?