Contributed by Joziah Coleman
Saturday Mar. 24th is set to be the date for America’s largest gospel award show, the 33rd annual Stellar Awards. The Stellar Awards is a yearly concert & award show to commemorate and celebrate the artists, writers & industry professionals that contribute to the Gospel music industry.
The Stellar awards is currently the longest running televised African-American award show and today remains the only Gospel music award show to have widespread television syndication. The first installment of the Stellar Awards began in 1970 being taped in Chicago’s Central City Production television station (or CCPTV).. The Stellar Awards became a yearly event starting in 1985. According to the Stellar Awards founder and CCPTV chairman Don Jackson, the largest challenge in the beginning was convincing networks & local stations to air the award ceremony.
“Many of the stations had very little knowledge of gospel’s entertainment value, so we purposely aired the show as a tribute to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday, which the stations thought was very appropriate.” (Price, 2017). Combining the first Stellar Awards with the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday proved to be a successful formula, so much so that future Stellar Award shows were aired alongside national holidays or events. In the past few years, the Stellar Awards have aired alongside the Easter holiday to appeal to more faith-based audiences.
This year, the 33rd installment of the Stellar Awards will feature over twenty-nine separate awards from traditional categories for the performers such as the artist or song of the year to more obscure awards including: choir or producer of the year. A separate section of awards is also being presented to members of the gospel music industry such as radio stations both in major and minor cities along with awards for the best internet station & radio announcer. Aside from the award ceremony, the Stellar Awards features live concerts from both seasoned professionals and budding artists from the gospel music industry.
For the main attractions of this year’s Stellar Awards, Snoop Dogg will be performing tracks from his latest gospel album Bible of Love, Erica & Tina Campbell are set to reunite as the Gospel duo Mary Mary, the first time the group has been together in over six years, lastly multi-time Stellar Award winner Kirk Franklin is set to host this year’s ceremonies. Kirk was ecstatic to host the Stellar Awards once again.
“Since my first step onto the Stellar Awards stage as a 23-year-old kid from Texas, I’ve lived, breathed and committed all I’ve had to this incredible genre called gospel… to find myself now still blessed to serve the community I love so dearly as their host of the 2018 Stellar Awards, that young kid feels alive again and more grateful than ever.”(Snoop Dogg, 2018).
In short, the Stellar Awards has been described as the Grammys of gospel music thanking everyone from the producer to the artist, to the station for bringing the word of God to the masses. The Stellar Awards Ceremony will take place on Saturday March 24th in Las Vegas, Nevada this year. Television syndication of the awards will begin on Friday March 30th and continue throughout the Easter weekend. For more information on this year’s award nominees and detailed syndication network lists & airdates visit http://www.thestellarawards.com/
Price, D. E. (2017, March 4). Stellar Awards Founder Talks Timing ‘The Grammys of Gospel’ to Attract a Larger Audience. Retrieved March 16, 2018, from