Youthful Praise

18th Annual Stellar Awards Notebook (2003)

Gospelflava.com was at the 18th Annual Stellar Awards, and took notes. Here's a potpourri of observations from that January weekend in Atlanta:

Who Was There:
Naturally, the artists who were nominated for Stellar Awards were in attendance, for the most part, as well as those performing and / or presenting. But there were a literal ton of others who made the trip to Atlanta as well. Who did we see? Among them were:

Tonex with new EMI Gospel artist Lil IroccRegina Belle, Taylor Crawford (Yolanda Adams’ young daughter) and Tim Crawford (Yolanda’s husband), James Hall, Ricky Dillard, producer Asaph Ward, rising vocalist Gene Moore, the Commissioned Reunion crew, William Becton, Mrs. Tonex, Deitrick and Damita Haddon, Gerald Haddon, Mr. and Mrs. Evander Holyfield, Al Hobbs, Sam Williams, Kirk Franklin's wife Tammy whom he called up on stage when he received his last award, NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, Church Howse Music exec. Neily Dickerson, Pastor Brian Moore, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Warryn Campbell, Natalie Wilson, Walter Kearney of PAJAM, Christopher Lewis, Donald McIntyre, Calvin Terrell, Christopher Heron, Teresa Hairston, Daryl and Jenell Coley, Teddy Campbell, Rodney Jerkins' limousine, Lucinda Moore, Ametria, Elder Kervy Brown, CeCe Winans and Freddy Purifoy from RFC.

Things You Will Not See on the TV Broadcast:

  • Atlanta’s KISS 104.1 FM Reggie Gay calling out (via loudspeaker) all of the Gospel artists as they entered into the Civic Centre.

  • The comedic foursome of Trina Jeffries (absent from her Sister Canteloupe persona), Chocolate, Small Frie and Chucky Jenkins, warming up the crowd prior to taping.

  • Comedian Jonathan Slocumb’s brilliant patter before the taping, and in between commercial breaks. Choice lines:

    • calling out to Music World Gospel CEO Matthew Knowles in the audience, asking him to stand and commenting on how he was so “Daddylicious”.
    • referring to the broom-sweeping stage janitor as “Snoop Daddy Dogg”
    • appeal to Chris Tucker that they should both do a movie together
    • asking 'all 100 Clark Sisters' to stand up to be acknowledged
    • asked Dottie Peoples to stand up and show the folks her latest dress creation in her fashion line.

  • Rev. Clifton Davis opening up the taping with a powerful prayer.

    Mighty Clouds of Joy with co-hosts Mary Mary
  • The thick Gospel Truth Magazine (GTM) Stellar souvenir book (complete with compilation CD) handed to all atttendees of the taping.

  • Donnie McClurkin publicly laying hands on Central City Productions exec. Don Jackson at the end of the taping.

  • Stellar cameramen worshipping, kneeling on the Civic Center floor before God.

Donnie McClurkin Listening Party
Coinciding with the Stellar Awards in Atlanta was a sneak preview listening party for Donnie McClurkin’s next album, titled …Again. Hosted by Verity Records and attended by several national retail, media and record label staffers, the 2 hour event was MC’d by McClurkin himself. (See Listening Party Recap)

Nominee Dinner
As the largest event aside from the television taping itself, the Pre-Stellar Nomination Dinner is actually the event during which the bulk of the awards were actually announced and handed out.

Smokie Norful with Wayne Waller of WPGC-AM | Heaven 1580 The evening began with a sit-down dinner for the hundreds of guests. First on stage ws the energetic Chevrolet Youth Choir, who offered two rousing selections, “Passing Out Blessings” and “I Just Wanna Say Thank You”. The latter song (written by Pharis Evans Jr. and first made popular on the Saints With a Vision project), brought great response from the crowd.

Then there was a special presentation by the Michael Berry of the City of Houston, honoring Yolanda Adams in advance of her acceptance of the first-ever Hall of Fame award by the Stellar Awards the following day.

There was also a presentation made to Tracy Morgan of Heaven 1850 in Washington, DC, who took home the annual Announcer of the Year honors.

Unlike the televised ceremony, where only the winner is invited on stage, at the awards part of the Nomination Dinner, all nominees in a category are invited to the stage, where they wait to hear the actual winner announced.

Yolanda Adams honored by the City of Houston, represented by Michael Berry Hosts Dr. Bobby Jones, Vickie Winans and Dottie Peoples engaged in amusing banter throughout the event, announcing nominees and sometimes bringing together combinations of artists on stage for impromptu songs.

Highlights were:

  • Smokie Norful singing “To God Be The Glory”, acappella and impromptu.

  • Vickie Winans and Dorinda Clark-Cole together on stage, singing together, with Vickie suddenly breaking out into her impression of Dorinda with “skank-a-skank, skank, skank-a-skank, skank”.

  • Yolanda Adams was encouraged (by Bobby Jones) to sing “My Prayer”, her duet with Donnie McClurkin from his upcoming Again album. Donnie was not in attendance, so Yolanda went ‘way down low’ for a brief take on Donnie’s part.

    Mighty Clouds of Joy with co-hosts Mary Mary
  • Tonex sang a brief version of “God Has Not 4Got”.

  • Later in the evening, on the awarding of the Gospel Hip Hop Stellar Award, Tonex graciously accepted the award and announced that the honor actually belonged to those true hip hop artists such as Tyscot recording artists The Righteous Riders (who were on stage with him).

BMI Luncheon
Music performance rights group BMI honored members Daryl Coley and Pop Winans at a weekend luncheon over the Stellar weekend. Attendees included several supportive Winans and Kurt Carr, taping segments for BET.

Announcer’s Guild Dinner
Bringing Gospel music to radio announcers, the January 9th 2003 event showcased the sounds of Christopher Lewis, Darwin Hobbs and a host of other artists.

Yolanda Adams with Dorinda Clark-Cole

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