The “Greatest Night in Gospel Music” returns to television when the 35th Anniversary Stellar Gospel Music Awards premieres on BET Networks as a two-hour virtual special on Sunday, August 23 at 6 p.m. ET. Also simulcast on BET Her, the virtual production will acknowledge all award winners from the Stellar Awards pre-show and main show, with select categories being presented in the broadcast. Led by the superstar trio of Kirk Franklin, Jonathan McReynolds and Koryn Hawthorne as hosts, the show will celebrate 35 years of excellence in the genre with inspirational performances from Gospel music’s most celebrated artists, and honor the contributions of first responder heroes on the front lines of the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic. Rounding out a night of inspiration, the Stellar Awards will be followed by the season 10 finale of BET’s “Sunday Best” at 8 p.m. ET. In addition, an encore presentation of the Stellar Awards is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET. The award show will also run in national broadcast syndication in 210 markets starting August 25 – September 30 (check local listings).
“As an organization whose roots are anchored in the African American experience, and whose original programming has always highlighted many aspects of Gospel music and the religious experience, we are delighted to bring the Stellar Gospel Music Awards Virtual Special to our viewers around the world,” said Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET.
“I am especially pleased at how our 35th Annual Stellar Awards virtual production has come together to honor both our award winners and First Responder Heroes, especially under the difficulty of restrictions due to the current COVID pandemic,” said Executive Producer and Stellar Awards Founder Don Jackson. “I want to thank our terrific production team for a job well done on the show!”
Confirmed performers include Anthony Brown, CeCe Winans,James Fortune, Koryn Hawthorne, J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise, Jonathan McReynolds, Travis Greene, Kierra Sheard, Marvin Sapp, Tye Tribbett, Tauren Wells, Zacardi Cortez, Pastor Mike Jr, DOE, Rich Tolbert Jr., and more. Emerging artists set to make their Stellar Awards debut include Group Fire, Keyla Richardson, Melvin Crispell III, and Titus Showers. The “Road to the Stellars” kicks off with a week-long digital announcement of the non-televised pre-show winners. Pre-Show nominees and winners will be announced daily at 6 p.m. CT from Monday, August 17 through Saturday, August 22 on the Stellar Awards websiteas well as Facebook and Instagram pages.
The show’s star-studded digital red carpet will be hosted by Gospel artist Jekalyn Carr on Stellar Awards Facebook and Instagram pages at 4 p.m. CT on Saturday, August 23. The Stellar Awards recognizes the year’s best performances in the genre, honors Gospel music icons and acknowledges the accomplishments of individuals instrumental in advocating for the industry. Previously announced nominees for the 2020 Stellar Awards include veteranGospel 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 Leonardwith eight nominations each; JJ Hairston (7 Nominations), Bishop Paul S. Morton (6 Nominations), John P. Kee (5 Nominations), Kurt Carr & The Kurt Carr Singers (4 Nominations), William Murphy (4 Nominations), Pastor Mike, Jr. (4 Nominations), Maranda Curtis (3 Nominations), and Fresh Start Worship (3 Nominations) round out the field of top nominated artists. For the complete list of the 35th Anniversary Stellar Gospel Music Awards nominees, please visit www.thestellarawards.com. 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.Stay tuned for future announcements and follow @thestellars for the latest news and updates about the greatest night in Gospel music. 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.