McDonald’s ICGT & RCAI Name Winner in Atlanta Weekend Featuring Donald Lawrence, Kierra Sheard, Sir the Baptist and More (PHOTOS)!

Tour host and media personality Lonnie Hunter engages grand prize winner Aarion Rhodes (L-R)on stage prior to her showstopping audition at the first-ever Golden Voice Talent Showcase. The showcase is offered in select markets of the 13th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour and is in partnership with RCA Inspiration.

Hello World,

This past weekend, McDonald’s USA brought the first-ever Golden Voice Talent Showcase and in-depth Master Class to Atlanta as part of the 13th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour.

This is the first time the Golden Arches has offered a two-day empowering and educational experience as part of its free nationwide tour. The tour is an extension of McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden campaign, an initiative that shines a brilliant light on Black excellence through the areas of empowerment, education and entrepreneurship. The Golden Voice Talent Showcase and Master Class were produced in partnership with RCA Inspiration.

GOLDEN VOICE TALENT SHOWCASE: The power-packed experience kicked off with the Golden Voice Talent Showcase Friday night at the Riverside Epicenter. Twenty-four hopefuls from as near as metro Atlanta to as far as Rochester, NY, auditioned before a crowd of gospel music fans and judges, including musical powerhouses Donald Lawrence, Kierra Sheard and Sir the Baptist. RCA Inspiration Vice President of Marketing Damon Williams joined the judging panel, giving aspiring singers feedback on their performances. In the end, Atlanta-native Aarion Rhodes, blew away the judges and onlookers with a traditional gospel hymn. She took home the grand prize, which included opening for the McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour concert the following day in her hometown.

MASTER CLASS: The following morning, the showcase judges joined tour host Lonnie Hunter for an in-depth Master Class, held at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. The panelists gave an intimate crowd an inside look into the music business.

CONCERT:The exciting weekend culminated with a much-anticipated, explosive concert featuring performances by Donald Lawrence, Kierra Sheard, Sir the Baptist, Tye Tribbett, Keke Wyatt and DJ Standout. The event was hosted by Lonnie Hunter and drew approximately 6,000 attendees to New Birth.

Atlanta-native Aarion Rhodes took home the grand prize at the first-ever Golden Voice Talent Showcase. As part of the prize, Rhodes got to open the Atlanta concert of the 13th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour on June 22. The showcase is offered in select tour markets and is in partnership with RCA Inspiration.

DJ Standout, Kierra Sheard, Donald Lawrence and Sir the Baptist (L-R) join grand prize winner Aarion Rhodes (Center) on stage after the first-ever Golden Voice Talent Showcase. The showcase is offered in select markets of the 13th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour and is in partnership with RCA Inspiration.

Twenty-four contestants eagerly await the announcement of the night’s top performers at the first-ever Golden Voice Talent Showcase. The showcase is offered in select markets of the 13th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour and is in partnership with RCA Inspiration.

DJ Standout spins during the 13th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour pre-show in Atlanta. The tour is an extension of McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden campaign, which celebrates Black excellence through education, empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Hip-hop gospel artist Sir the Baptist performs during the 13th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour concert in Atlanta. The tour is an extension of McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden campaign, which celebrates Black excellence through education, empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Famed gospel vocalist Kierra Sheard performs during the 13th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour concert in Atlanta. The tour is an extension of McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden campaign, which celebrates Black excellence through education, empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Vocal powerhouse Keke Wyatt performs during the 13th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour concert in Atlanta. The tour is an extension of McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden campaign, which celebrates Black excellence through education, empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Legendary music director and producer Donald Lawrence performs during the 13th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour concert in Atlanta. The tour is an extension of McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden campaign, which celebrates Black excellence through education, empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Gospel music vocalist Tye Tribbett performs during the 13th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour concert in Atlanta. The tour is an extension of McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden campaign, which celebrates Black excellence through education, empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Atlanta-area McDonald’s Owner/Operator John Hurt delivers remarks during the 13th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour concert in Atlanta. The tour is an extension of McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden campaign, which celebrates Black excellence through education, empowerment and entrepreneurship.

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BET Announces Top 20 Contestants of ‘Sunday Best’ – Premieres Sun. June 30th at 8/7c!

Hello World,

Returning from its four-year hiatus, America’s most inspirational singing competition, “Sunday Best,” makes its triumphant return to BET on Sunday, June 30that 8/7c with two brand-new back-to-back episodes. The well-established gospel show welcomes back Grammy Award®-winning music legend Kirk Franklin as host, gospel songstress and host of “Get Up Mornings,” Erica Campbell as a judge; and added two Grammy-Award® nominated artists Kelly Price and Jonathan McReynolds as new additions to the panel. With a brand-new stage and exciting themed challenges, this season has narrowed down the competition to 20 finalists.

The new season kicks off for the first time ever with in-person auditions in front of the judges, with no audience.  The contestants have to show their true talent, with no smoke and mirrors, by performing acapella with no band support, as they narrow the field from 20 to the top 10.  For the first time the contestants were able to use an online submissions process, after which the team lead a global search for this year’s contestants, leading up to the much-anticipated live auditions in Dallas, TX, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, GA, and Detroit, MI, Lagos, Nigeria and for the first time-ever London, England and Johannesburg, South Africa, which were open to select international contestants. The top 20 contestants are:

  • Antonio Santora, 31, Durham, North Carolina
  • Ashley Barnes, 24, Memphis, Tennessee
  • Brielle Frage, 21, Avenel, New Jersey
  • Cornelius Edwards, 33, West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Chelsey Barnes, 22, Memphis, TN
  • Emorja Roberson, 27, South Bend, Indiana
  • Jamal Roberts, 22, Meridian, Mississippi
  • James Thompson, 23, Derby UK
  • Jason Warrior, 23, Chicago, IL
  • Joshua Copeland, 37, Salisbury, Maryland
  • Kayva Offord, 27, Orange, Texas
  • Keyla Richardson, 22, Pensacola, Florida
  • Lakeesha Rice, 36, Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Linda Williams, 52, University Heights, OH
  • Melvin Crispell III, 21, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Opal Staples, 38, Chicago, IL
  • Roy Moye, 26, Wichita, Kansas
  • Tiffany Andrews, 35, Newark, New Jersey
  • Tiffany Moore, 35, Augusta, Georgia
  • Yoonjung Park, 32, South Korea

Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment (BET Awards, The New Edition Story), serves as executive producer of season nine of Sunday Best along with showrunner Josh Greenberg (The Sing-Off, Lip Sync Battle).  Dionne Harmon (The Bobby Brown Story, Hip Hop Squares) and Jeannae Rouzan–Clay (Dear Mama, Black Girls Rock!) and are co-executive producers.

For updates and more information about “SUNDAY BEST”, please visit BET.com/SundayBest. Join the conversation on social media by logging on to our social media platforms using the hashtag: #BETSundayBest.

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Tasha Cobbs Leonard Opens Up About Weight Loss Surgery + Kirk Franklin Discusses Past Pornography Addiction on TV One Easter Sunday!

Hello World,

After you have celebrated the triumphant resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday and spent time with family and friends, check out TV One’s episodes of  “UNSUNG” featuring TASHA COBBS LEONARD and “UNCENSORED” featuring KIRK FRANKLIN!

UNSUNG: Tasha Cobbs Leonard” airs Sunday, April 21st at 9/8c, and “UNCENSORED: Kirk Franklin” airs Sunday, April 21st at 10/9c on TV One!

Tasha Cobbs Leonard broke into the music scene in 2013 with her LP “Grace.” The project laced with organic and moving tracks featured the lead single, Break Every Chain, which landed as Billboard’s #1 song for a total of 12 weeks. This anthem unleashed liberation to countless audiences nationwide each time it was heard or ministered. The album Grace landed on Billboard’s Top 10 Gospel Albums chart for a year. It was definite that the world had received not just another singer, but a rare gift. From a small town in Georgia, Tasha grew up as a vital part of her church. She delivered her trial sermon at 11 years old. As she rose to fame, of course came the critics. Tasha is here to tell Unsung about how she never feared the backlash she faced. Through first-hand accounts, interviews with family and friends, and archival footage, each episode of TV One’s signature series UNSUNG sheds much-deserved light on some of the most influential and talented R&B, soul, funk, dance hall, hip hop, disco, and gospel artists of the last 30 years.

Below is a clip of Tasha Cobbs Leonard discussing her decision to have weight loss surgery:

Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas – Kirk Franklin was raised by his aunt Gertrude after his mom and dad abandoned him. It was there that he discovered his love for music through the church, as Gertrude made it a priority for him to take piano lessons – a gift passed on from her late husband. Kirk first experienced real success with his choir that he composed and aptly named, The Family. It was when he had the opportunity to work with an up and coming group, God’s Property, that success really took off with the Jimmy Iovine inspired remix to Stomp. Always one to remain true to his testimony, he received backlash once more for vocalizing his addiction to pornography. With the faith and support of his family he remains true to his spiritual journey and to inspire faith through his music and his testimony. UNCENSORED dives deep into the lives of your favorite personalities as they reveal secrets to their success, obstacles they’ve faced, and how they manage this new world of social media that has helped but sometimes haunted their careers.

Below is a clip of Kirk Franklin & wife Tammy Franklin discussing his past addiction to pornography:

And if you have more time after church, also tune into the 34th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards which will premiere on BET Network also on Easter Sunday, April 21 at 7:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. CT. The biggest night in gospel music, which was hosted by Kirk Franklin,  was taped live at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The stand-out highlight of the evening was an emotional tribute performance by Kelly Price, Erica Campbell and Regina Belle honoring the undisputed Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Family members of the late-legend Brenda Corbett, Jordan Franklin and Kecalf Franklin were presented with the inaugural Aretha Franklin ICON Award to give posthumous recognition of her profound impact on the Gospel music genre and unforgettable contributions.

For more information, visit TV One’s YouTube Channel and check out exclusive, behind-the-scenes content on www.tvone.tv. Viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on TV One’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (@tvonetv).

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