The 30th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards took place in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, March 28th and they will be broadcasted in syndication over the next few weeks in late April/early May. Produced by the Chicago-based Central City Production, Inc. (CCP), the Stellar Gospel Music Awards are designed to showcase the top Gospel artists in a variety of categories including artist of the year and song of the year to name a few. The 30th installment of this awards show does absolutely nothing to push Gospel music forward.
One of the very first problems with the Stellar Awards is the opening performance featured secular artist, Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child fame singing her inspirational hit, “Say Yes”, with her former band mates, Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland. What was probably orchestrated to generate ratings and mainstream buzz, the unannounced reunion of the popular trio took away from those individuals who are in the Gospel genre full time. Various news outlets from Entertainment Tonight to CNN seemed to be more interested that Destiny’s Child were performing together again than the fact that a Gospel awards program took place. After all, who really cares that Erica Campbell of Mary Mary took home six awards? In fact, it became clearly evident that everyone who performed after Destiny’s Child ended up playing second fiddle when, in reality, it should have been the other way around. There is a serious problem when Gospel events like the Stellars and Celebration of Gospel turn to secular artists to sing about Jesus. Just because Jesus is mentioned in a song does not make it Gospel. There are countless of anointed Gospel artists who would love the opportunity to sing about the Lord but are simply not given the platform.
Deitrick Haddon, of Preachers of LA reality tv fame, performed his single, “My City” with Dorinda Clark-Cole, Kierra Sheard and J Moss. The song, which is an ode to Detroit and is featured on the Preachers of Detroit show, was an interesting song selection for a program that is suppose to emphasize the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead of using the time to highlight a selection from their respective latest releases, Haddon and his guests offer the viewers a song about a city in the United States. Really? This was not the time to perform this song and they should have known that. If that wasn’t enough, then there was the terrible performance by Gospel rapper, Uncle Reece. Performing his song, “Worship Till I Pass Out”, Reece wildly pranced around the stage and the crowd seemed to enjoy his type of “worship”. Worship is suppose to invoke God’s presence, however, it seems as if Reece seemed to be invoking people’s emotions by offering up strange fire before the Lord (Numbers 26:61).
While the Stellar Awards had a few bright moments, namely performances by Israel Houghton, Yolanda Adam and Erica Campbell, overall, the Stellar Awards missed an opportunity to evangelize to the masses. There are many people who will never open up a Bible. Therefore, these so called Gospel artists should remember that it is not about them. Jesus Christ made Himself of no reputation (Philippians 2:7). Prayerfully, those in charge of the Stellar Awards will remember this next year when putting the line up together.
The Stellar Awards will air in Baltimore on WMAR, Channel 2 on Tuesday, May 12th at 10pm and on Saturday, May 16th at 4pm.