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Snoop Dogg, Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin and more attend ‘Stellar Gospel Music Awards’ [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Gospel music’s biggest night was celebrated over the weekend at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. I’m talking about none other than the 2018 Stellar Gospel Music Awards. This year’s show was hosted by Grammy winning performer Kirk Franklin and will air this Good Friday, March 30 at 9 p.m. on TV One.

This year’s award’s ceremony opened with Stellar Awards alum Erica Campbell reuniting with her sister Tina Campbell as the hit gospel duo Mary Mary for the first time in more than six years. The show also included an all-star tribute to the late, great Edwin Hawkins, with his sister Lynette Hawkins accepting the Edwin Hawkins Icon Award in his honor. Also, a stand out moment featured the multi-platinum award-winning Snoop Dogg performing material from his new gospel album, “Bible of Love.”

The night also included performances by Kierra Sheard, Tori Kelly, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Anthony Brown, JJ Hairston, Travis Greene, Jonathan McReynolds, Ricky Dillard, Todd Dulaney, Tasha Page Lockhart, KeKe Wyatt, Canton Jones, Deitrick Haddon, Koryn Hawthorne, Le’Andria Johnson and more. Special presenters included Donnie McClurkin, Merle DandridgeDavid MannAnika Noni Rose and more.

Top winners of the night were JJ Hairston winning six awards; Tasha Cobbs Leonard and Travis Greene each winning four awards; and Anthony Brown winning two awards.

Don Jackson bestowed special honors upon gospel greats who have made significant contributions to the genre. The incomparable Tamela Mann was the 2018 recipient of the James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award and the legendary Rev. Milton Biggham received The Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones Legends Award.  Stellar Honors Hall of Fame Inductees includes Kurt Carr, Ben Tankard, and Dr. Marabeth Gentry – President of the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses.

The 2018 Stellar Gospel Music Awards will air on March 30 at 9 p.m. on TV One.

Check out the red carpet & performance photos below:




























Photo Credits: Earl Gibson for Getty Images


New Edition, Peabo Bryson, Wendy Williams & more receive Trumpet Awards [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

The 2017 Trumpet Awards were taped on Saturday evening at Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and your truly was in the mix to capture all of the sights and sounds of one of Atlanta’s biggest nights. This year, I covered the red carpet for my radio magazine #UPFRONT and gathered exclusive interviews with some of the attendees, honorees and presenters. That segment will air this Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on

After the red carpet, I was able to go backstage and cover the media room where most of the show’s presenters, performers and honorees stopped by for photo opportunities. As previously reported, this year’s 25th Anniversary show recognized the accomplishments of some of the biggest names in the African-American community including talk show host Wendy Williams, whose Trumpet Award for Entertainment was picked up by her media brother, hip hop icon Ed Lover.

New Edition’s Rickey Bell, Ronnie DeVoe, Michael Bivins and Johnny Gill, collected their much deserved Lifetime Achievement Trumpet Award. The iconic group from the 1980s, who laid the foundation for many  boy bands of the 90s and 2000s, was recognized just days before their highly anticipated biopic which airs tonight on BET. The group was saluted by R&B groups Transitions, Silk and Jagged Edge.

Music legend Peabo Bryson was honored for his enduring career as a Grammy winning-singer and songwriter. He has performed some of music’s most beloved duets including “Tonight I Celebrate My Love” with Roberta Flack, “Beauty and the Beast” with Celine Dion and “A Whole New World” with Regina Belle, who also performed the song with R&B crooner Kenny Lattimore as part of Bryson’s musical tribute. Bryson’s award was presented to him by music legend—Bill Withers. I had a chance to see Bryson perform last spring and he was simply amazing. He is one of the few veteran performers that still puts on an entire show including stories, dazzling costumes, a live band and back to back hits. This award is very well deserved and was one of the evening’s highlights.

NBA star Dikembe Mutombo picked up the Humanitarian Trumpet Award and praised gospel vocalist Tamela Mann for her amazing performance. She was a ray of sunshine when she entered the media room and bought a smile to everyone’s face. Fashion Blogger Gabi Gregg, was also glowing as she picked up this year’s Trailblazing Trumpet Award. I got a chance to chat with her on the red carpet and she described the moment as “surreal.”  I believe she is the first blogger to receive this award and was really humble to be in the midst of such greatness.

Gospel superstars Jekalyn Carr, Le’Andria Johnson, Travis Greene and Derek Minor were all in the house for a foot stomping, hand clapping, spirit-filled musical tribute. While I wasn’t able to see it from the media room, we were all in awe when the Queen of Gospel, Shirley Caesar, walked into the room. She even took pictures with a dry eraser sign that we created with the famous tag line, “You Name It.”  That was the name of the remixed song that created quite a frenzy over the Thanksgiving holiday and used a line from iconic tune, “Hold My Mule.”

The icing on the cake was Oscar winning-actor Louis Gosset Jr. being there to present Trumpet Awards founder Xernona Clayton with the distinguished Golden Trumpet Award. She also joined us backstage and had everyone’s full attention with her radiant white and gold gown and dazzling head piece.

Other stars spotted on the carpet included Ed Gordon, Erica Campbell, Dr. Bobby Jones, T.C. Carson, Lalah Hathaway, the show’s hosts Nicole Ari Parker and Deon Cole, the cast of Bounce TV’s “Saints and Sinners,” Gary Owens, BJ The Chicago Kid, KeKe WyattErica AshWillie Moore Jr., Tyler Williams from “The New Edition Story” and more!

See more backstage photos below and stay tuned for red carpet pics:

Vanessa Bell Calloway

Tamela Mann

Tamela Mann with Miss Georgia Pre-Teen Damacia Howard

showing off their sparkling shoes

Honoree Dikembe Mutombo with Ed Gordon

BJ The Chicago Kid 

Honoree Peabo Bryson with Bill Withers and Ed Gordon

Kenny Lattimore, Erica Ash and Bill Withers 

KeKe Wyatt

Le’Andria Johnson and Jekalyn Carr

That shoe tho! #Jekalyn Carr

Canton Jones with Shirley Caesar 

Shirley Caesar

Willie Moore Jr. 

Honoree Gabi Gregg

Gary Owens taking part in our backstage shenanigans

The group Transitions performed as part of the NE Tribute

Honorees Ronnie DeVoe and Michael Bivins 

Tyler Williams 

Ronnie DeVoe and Lyfe Jennings 

Trumpet Awards Founder Xernona Clayton

The Trumpet Awards airs this

Sunday, January 29 at 9 p.m. EST On Bounce

Photo Credits:

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Tasha Cobbs, The Walls Group, Canton Jones and more win ‘Steeple Awards’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Congratulations to Tasha Cobbs, Bishop William Murphy, and “Preachers of Atlanta” stars Canton Jones and Le’Andria Johnson!  They all picked up awards over the weekend during the highly anticipated “Steeple Awards.”

The event took place at Siloam International Church and was created to recognize mainstream and independent artists who have contributed to the gospel music industry. In addition to the numerous singers and songwriters honored, a number of churches and pastors picked up Nehemiah awards, for their work that demonstrates the 5-fold ministries as outlined in the book of Ephesians.

Other highlights included a tribute to the late greate Pastor Daryl Coley who transitioned on March 15th with a riveting medley of three of Coley’s popular songs presented by Marica Chisholm and “Sunday Best” alums Corey Webb and Zebulon Ellis.

Check out the full list of winners below:

The 2016 winners of the Steeple Awards are:
• Church of the Year: The dReam Center Church of Atlanta (William Murphy, III)
• CD of the Year: One Place Live (Tasha Cobbs)
• Song of the Year: I’m Yours: (Casey J)
• Group or Duo of the Year: The Walls Group
• Female Artist of the Year: Le’Andria Johnson
• Male Artist of the Year: Canton Jones
• Author of the Year: DiShan Washington (Diary of a Mad First Lady)
• Choir of the Year: Kevin Lemons & Higher Calling
• New Artist of the Year: Ahmad Hall & Friends
• Best in Media: Twanda Black of KISS 104FM
• Comedian of the Year: Karlton Humes
• Inspirational Rap Artist of the Year: Luke G

The Nehemiah Award Honorees are:
• Bishop Stephen B. & Co-Pastor Vanessa Hall of The Rhema Nation Church
• Pastor Kerwin B. & 1st Lady Yolanda T. Lee of Berean Christian Church
• Bishop William, & Danielle Murphy of The dReam Center Church of Atlanta
• Dr. Jonathan C. & Co-Pastor Sylvia D. Carter of Siloam Church International
• General Overseer Craig L. & 1st Lady Chi’lra Oliver of Elizabeth Baptist Church

RC Exclusive - Music

ATL’s ‘Steeple Awards’ to recognize Kirk Franklin, Tasha Cobbs, and more!

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Gospel music’s biggest stars will take center stage on Saturday, March 19 at the inaugural “Steeple Awards.” This special night of praise, worship and celebration will take place at Atlanta’s Siloam Church International and is hosted by comedian Broderick Rice.

“We are honoring those who are honoring Christ”, says C Chandon Carter, the award show Founder and Carter Unlimited CEO. This star-studded event will showcase prominent gospel artists, recognize anointed pastors, and celebrate phenomenal praise dancers. Each guest will leave uplifted, inspired and grateful to The Most High.

Special performances will include gospel rising star Tim Bowman Jr. who will sing his #1 Gospel Billboard hit single, “I’m Good”. “Sunday Best” alums Corey Webb from Season 1 and Tyler Little from Season 6 as well as “Preachers of Atlanta” star Judah Swilley and gospel singers Marica Chisolm and Sonya McGuire.

Other special invited guests and Steeple Award nominees include: Gospel all stars Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, Tasha Cobbs, Richard Smallwood, Canton Jones, The Walls Group, Bishop William Murphy, singers Kelly Price and Demetria McKinney, and actress Reece Odum.

Click here to for more information!

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TV, Film and Music Stars participate in Merge Symposium Atlanta [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

The 2015 Merge Symposium Atlanta took place on Saturday afternoon at the dReam Center. The annual event, which is sponsored by Walgreens, integrates the faith and entertainment communities for a series of events that provide education, inspiration, empowerment and opportunity. Now in its sixth year, the Merge Symposium has expanded beyond Los Angeles to now include Baltimore, Chicago and Atlanta.


LisaRaye McCoy

This year’s Merge Symposium Atlanta featured over 12 workshops focusing on such topics as Brand Building, Acting, Screenwriting, Producing and Creating a Vision Board. All of the workshops and panels are led by industry professionals and leaders designed to help singers, actors, filmmakers and producers move forward.


Meagan Good

A number of stars from top-rated TV shows participated in today’s events including LisaRaye McCoy (Single Ladies); Tika Sumpter (The Haves and the Have Nots); Meagan Good (Minority Report); Ronreaco Lee (Survivor’s Remorse); Brely Evans (Being Mary Jane); and Charles Michael Davis (The Originals).


Egypt Sherrod and Kim Kimble

TV personalities Egypt Sherrod (HGTV’s Property Virgins) and celebrity hairstylist Kim Kimble were part of a living discussion on brand building with former ESSENCE Beauty Editor Mikki Taylor.  Award-winning actors Harry Lennix and Jasmine Guy shared their pearls of wisdom along with R&B Diva Angie Stone, who’s been in the entertainment industry for over 35 years.


Roger M. Bobb and DeVon Franklin

Industry executives that took part in today’s discussion included TV and Film producer Roger M. Bobb; film executive and minister DeVon Franklin; filmmaker Rob Hardy; producer extraordinaire Lumuel Plummer; Turner Entertainment executive Valerie Wattz Meraz; and the CW’s Traci Blackwell. Also spotted in the audience was legendary casting director Robi Reed.

Check out more photos below:

An Artist Who Matters featuring LisaRaye McCoy, Angie Stone, Canton Jones, Jason Hughes and Bishop William Murphy moderated by Revolt’s Kelly G.


Angie Stone

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Bishop William Murphy and LisaRaye McCoy


Angie Stone with her son and new music group DSquared Live

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Canton Jones and Kelly G

You Inc.: Building a Marketable Brand featuring Kim Kimble, Egypt Sherrod and Mikki Taylor:


Egypt Sherrod with Kim Kimble


Egypt Sherrod with Kim Kimble and Mikki Taylor


Actors Worshop with Harry Lennix


The Actors Panel: Have “IT” featuring Meagan Good, Tika Sumpter, Jasmine Guy, Ronreaco Lee, Charles Michael Davis and moderated by Brely Evans


Meagan Good with Charles Michael Davis and Tika Sumpter


Meagan Good, Charles Michael Davis, Tika Sumpter,

Ronreaco Lee, Jasmin Guy and Brely Evans


Tika Sumpter


Group Shot

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Tika Sumpter/Charles Michael Davis

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Meagan Good and Robi Reed


Photo Credits:

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T.I. teams up with VEO to support homeless vets through ‘GIVE Like a King’ Campaign (PHOTOS)

Gospel recording artist Canton Jones, T.I. and wife Tiny

Written by | Ray Cornelius

“To live like a king, you must be willing to give like a king. With that being said, it gives me great honor and privilege to give to those who deserve it the most.”

Those are the words spoken by ATL’s very own, Clifford “T.I” Harris, who held a press conference this past weekend for his new humanitarian campaign.

The award-winning rapper has teamed up with the Atlanta-based Veterans Empowerment Organization (VEO) for GIVE Like a King, a global initiative aimed at raising awareness and encouraging others to give back and get involved in a worthy cause. This partnership with VEO allows T.I. the opportunity to support homeless veterans through fundraising, advocacy and public service.

“No veteran who’s risked his life and everyday liberties for my own should go without. So we have aligned ourselves with people who share our enthusiasm and we are going to do as much as we can about that.”  ~ T.I.

Frantz Fortune, Executive Director of VEO

T.I. was joined by his talk show host wife, Tiny along with Executive Director of VEO, Frantz Fortune and Gospel singer Canton Jones, who served as the press conference hostT.I. also revealed future transitional housing facilities and a veteran’s garden featuring specially designed wooden benches with engraved words like “liberty” and “freedom.”

Curtis Butler with T.I. and wife Tiny

Also in attendance were several veterans including book author Curtis Butler, who made headlines recently when he paid $2,000 in electrical bills for several of his Stockbridge, GA neighbors.

Edwards Johnson and Norris Connally

However, the real treat of the day was the introduction of  Tuskegee Airmen, Mr. Edward Johnson and Mr. Norris Connally.  Johnson, an “original” Tuskegee Airman, was one of the first instrument flight instructors and Connally was part of the infamous “Thirteen Morehouse Dropouts,” a group of students who left college to enter the armed services. Both men received standing ovations from everyone in the crowd.

After the GIVE Like a King  art work unveiling, guests and press got a chance to preview the “before” stages of one of the transitional housing facilities.

Check out some other photos from the event along with excerpts from T.I.’s press conference speech…

“This is the beginning of a new day in this particular community. This is my community and anyone who’s ever heard me say my own name, you heard me say ‘Bankhead’ or ‘Westside.’  Several seconds away and down two or three streets is where I grew up. And when I say grew up, I don’t mean I just ‘came here on the weekends.’ (LOL) This is where I lived—my life.”

“If you say that you’re a king, you must accept that heavy is the head of he that wears the crown.”

 For more information about GIVE Like A King, log onto the website at

Photography Credit: Ray Cornelius