The 32nd Annual Stellar Awards will be taped in Las Vegas on March 25. The awards will premiere on TV One on April 9 at 6 p.m. EST. However, Don Jackson, founder of the Stellar Awards and chairman of Central City Productions, confessed that the main challenge is to get the major TV networks to broadcast the show.
"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," Jackson tells Billboard. "Because of the rating success, station clearances grew and the event became an annual special for broadcast stations all over the country. This year, we are purposely airing [the awards] over Easter weekend -- the biggest faith-based holiday in the country -- to attract an even larger audience."
Yet, Jackson is optimistic. "The state of gospel is on the upswing because of the attraction of younger contemporary, urban and hip-hop artists who have dedicated themselves to this genre," says Jackson. "I am especially excited about the announcement we will be making at this year's show of our Stellar TV cable network." The channel, expected to launch later this year, will broadcast gospel music entertainment and faith-based programming.
The telecast will premiere on TV One Sunday, April 9 at 7 p.m. with encores at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. In addition, the Stellar Awards will air in national broadcast syndication on 170 stations in over 150 markets around the country from April 15-May 7.
Set to take the stage this year with powerful worship performances are Tamela Mann, Shirley Caesar, Jekalyn Carr, Fred Hammond, Kirk Franklin, Bizzle, Canton Jones, Da' Truth, JJ Hairston and Youthful Praise, Travis Greene, VaShawn Mitchell, Tasha Cobbs, Doug Williams, Keith "Wonderboy" Johnson and Da Chozen Brothaz.
Stellar Awards Founder Don Jackson will bestow special honors upon gospel legend, Spencer Taylor (of the Highway QC's) this year's recipient of the James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award and the Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones Legends Award honoree, the legendary Rev. Clay Evans.
Stellar Honors Hall of Fame inductees include Fred Hammond, Mississippi Mass Choir and Dr. Leonard Scott.
Tags : stellar awards don jackson stellar awards 2017 dr. leonard scott Tamela Mann shirley caesar fred hammond Kirk Franklin Jekalyn Carr travis greene jj hairston and youthful praise Tasha Cobbs canton jones