BlackNews.com — Platinum artist Marvin Sapp topped the list of winners during the 26TH ANNUAL STELLAR GOSPEL MUSIC AWARDS announced Saturday night during the show’s taping at Nashville’s iconic Grand Ole Opry House Theater.
Sapp took home four awards, including Artist of the Year, Traditional Male of the Year, CD of the Year and Traditional CD of the Year. A highlight of the evening, his emotion-filled finale performance of his biggest hit “Never Would Have Made It” with Stellar Awards host Donnie McClurkin created an overwhelming audience response as he dedicated the night to his recently-deceased wife Dr. Malinda P. Sapp.
The Grand Ole Opry landmark was transformed into a spirit-filled sanctuary as Pastor McClurkin led the ‘congregation’ in a prayer for Sapp and provided one of the night’s biggest moments.
“It’s great to be honored by your peers, and you do your best to give honor and glory to God,” said Sapp. “But it’s bittersweet with my wife not here with me.”
Before introducing the performance, McClurkin added, “If it wasn’t for Pastor Marvin Sapp’s wife Malinda, this song would have never made it on the CD.”
Other top winners included James Fortune & FIYA who received two awards for Group/Duo of the Year and Contemporary CD of the Year, and presented his award to his wife who joined him on stage for standing by him while they were homeless, sleeping out of their car and expecting their third child.
James Fortune was also named Contemporary Male of the Year. Seasoned vets Bebe & Cece Winans won awards individually and collectively; the duo received the Urban Inspirational Single or Performance of the Year and Music Video of the Year awards. Bebe Winans also received the Song of the Year award while CeCe Winans was named Contemporary Female of the Year.
Gospel superstar Kirk Franklin, who was honored with the Thomas A. Dorsey Most Notable Achievement Award for his Haitian relief efforts, was moved to tears during an All-Star tribute of the song he wrote to benefit disaster victims “Are You Listening: A Love Song for Haiti” by his friends and colleagues. The choir included stars CeCe Winans, Vickie Winans, Karen Clark Sheard, Marvin Sapp, Wess Morgan, Dorinda Clark Cole, Shirley Caesar, J Moss, Myron Butler, The Nevel Sisters and others. The award was presented to Franklin by Haitian-born actor Jimmy Jean-Louis (NBC’s “Heroes”).
The hand-clapping, foot-stomping revival began with star-studded red carpet arrivals featuring stars from Gospel, television and film, such as Andrae Crouch, Omari Hardwick (For Colored Girls), Meagan Good (The Game), Yvette Nicole Brown (NBC’s Community), BET’s Dr. Bobby Jones (Bobby Jones Gospel), Beth Payne, Shari Addison and Jessica Reedy from Sunday Best, Committed (winners of NBC’s “The Sing Off”), and Trin-I-Tee 5:7 as well as other notable personalities. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee presented Central City Productions CEO and founder of the Stellar Awards Don Jackson with a proclamation celebrating the establishment of September as national Gospel Music Heritage month.
The show was filled with stirring performances, including a heart-pumping opening performance of “Lord You’re Mighty” by JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise; Beverly Crawford brought the audience to their feet with a rendition of “It’s About Time for a Miracle;” Forever Jones masterfully sang “He Wants It All;” and Joshua’s Troop delighted the crowd with the youthful praise song, “Everybody Clap Your Hands.” Other big performers included Voices of Destiny – 2010 Verizon Wireless “How Sweet the Sound” Choir Contest Winners, Deitrick Haddon, VaShawn Mitchell, a quartet collaboration between The Rance Allen Group, The Soul Seekers, and The Williams Brothers, and more.
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