Editor’s Note: In March, GMF posted a press release from Central City Productions announcing that the 35th Annual Stellar Awards was postponed until August. On May 28th, Central City Productions released its latest update regarding production of the 35th Annual Stellar Awards. The official release is below.
(CHICAGO, IL) May 28, 2020 – Though celebrating the milestone 35th anniversary of the Stellar Gospel Music Awards has been delayed due to the ongoing global health crisis and pandemic of COVID-19, Central City Productions today announced plans to produce the “Greatest Night in Gospel Music” as a two-hour virtual awards telecast that will air in 3Q of this year. Replacing the live taping previously rescheduled for August in Las Vegas, the new show format will harness the power of technology and creative television production honoring the best in gospel music. The virtual production will acknowledge all winners of the Stellar Awards pre-show and main show, with select categories being presented in the broadcast. The broadcast will also feature inspirational performances from gospel music’s most celebrated artists, and special tributes to first responder heroes on the front lines of the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic.
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic closing venues in Las Vegas we are producing our Stellar Awards as a virtual at home television special to honor our Stellar Award 2020 nominees and winners, that will still raise the roof for our fans at home with great gospel music performances in a new format,” said Stellar Awards Founder and Executive Producer Don Jackson. “Also, it gives us the opportunity to honor COVID-19 first responder heroes in appreciation of the great work they are doing to save lives during this pandemic. We hope to further inspire these heroes with tributes of thanks from our gospel music cast of Stellar winners and performances.”
Joining previously announced first time co-hosts Jonathan McReynolds and Koryn Hawthorne is Stellar Awards veteran host Kirk Franklin. The superstar trio will work together to keep the virtual television praise party lifted and flowing seamlessly throughout the evening. Confirmed performers include Donnie McClurkin, James Fortune, J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise, Travis Greene, Pastor Mike Jr., Kierra Sheard, and Doe, with more to be announced.
An important tradition at the Stellar Awards will be held for next year’s 2021 show, where Jackson will bestow well-deserved special honors and recognition upon gospel greats who have elevated the genre. The previously named recipients – The Clark Sisters, Lady Tramaine Hawkins, Pastor Shirley Caesar in addition to gospel music industry leaders Dr. Leonard Scott, Skip Barrett, Kerry Douglas, and Dr. Teresa Hairston – will be celebrated for their contributions to gospel music when The Stellar Awards returns to Las Vegas next Spring in March 2021.
Tickets purchased for 2020 Stellar Awards events that were scheduled for August 14–16 will be refunded. To submit requests or for more information, visit Ticketmaster.
Previously announced nominees for the 2020 Stellar Awards includes veteran gospel collective, Donald Lawrence Presents The Tri-City Singers who leads the field of nominees with nine nominations. Other top nominees include gospel icon and Stellar Awards host, Kirk Franklin and powerhouse singer, producer and performer Tasha Cobbs Leonard with eight nominations each; JJ Hairston (seven nominations), Bishop Paul S. Morton (six nominations), John P. Kee (five nominations), Kurt Carr & The Kurt Carr Singers, William Murphy, and Pastor Mike, Jr. (four nominations each). Maranda Curtis and Fresh Start Worship (three nominations each) round out the field of top nominated artists. For the complete list of the 35th Anniversary Stellar Gospel Music Awards, please visit The Stellar Awards.
More of the biggest names in gospel and a few additional surprises are being added to the growing list of top performers appearing in this year’s show, presented by AT&T and also sponsored by State Farm.
“I am especially grateful and appreciative of the tremendous positive response we have had from gospel music artists, our advertising partners and over 200 television broadcast and cable partners around the country who have agreed to support our 35th annual Stellar Awards at home special honoring Stellar winners and first responder heroes,” said Jackson.
The Stellar Gospel Music Awards show is executive produced by Don Jackson, with Jennifer J. Jackson serving as Executive in Charge of Production. Michael A. Johnson will produce and direct this year’s award show.
Libra Nicole Boyd, PhD is a musician, award-winning author, gospel music aficionado, and the founder and editor of Gospel Music Fever™. Her commitment to journalistic integrity includes bringing you reliable gospel music content that uplifts and advances the art form. Libra is presently working on several scholarly projects about gospel music in the media as well as gospel music in social movements.