The "20th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards" was a night to remember with special tributes, emotional performances and memorable moments that paid tribute to the gospel music industries' finest.
Gospel sensation Yolanda Adams, along with Donnie McClurkin and Tonex shared co-hosting duties and welcomed presenters including the legendary Roberta Flack, contemporary artist Lalah Hathaway, Mom & Pop Winans, Shirley Caesar, Mary Mary, T.D. Jakes, radio mogul Tom Joyner and actors Kimberly Elise, Shemar Moore of CBS's "The Young and the Restless" and Dule Hill of NBC's "West Wing."
Tonex swept the awards by taking home six Stellar Awards including Artists of the Year and Song of the Year for "Make Me Over". Bishop Paul S. Morton and gospel veterans The Williams Brothers tied at three golden-flamed statues. Cece Winans and Israel Houghton both received two awards and Martha Munizzi received New Artist of the Year honors.
The evening sparkled with an arousing opening performance by Israel and New Breed. The capacity audience also witnessed an once-in-a-lifetime performance by the legendary Hawkins Family, (Tramaine, Walter, Lynette and Edwin Hawkins) that paid tribute to gospel icon Richard Smallwood. Smallwood received the James Cleveland Award for the major impact in the development and advancement of gospel music.
One of the most touching moments of the evening was Mary Mary presenting a teary eyed Donnie McClurkin with the Trailblazer Award which recognized his unique talent as a performer, writer and producer and role model for young people. Another highlight of the evening was when Shirley Caesar, Inez Andrews, Dorothy Norwood and Albertina Walker formerly known as The Caravans, sang a few bars of one of their classic songs as part of the Male Vocalist of the Year award presentation.
Dr. Bobby Jones was presented with the Stellar Legends Award for his enormous contributions to the gospel music industry and dedication in bringing the gospel music community together. The evening became praise party central with hand clapping, soul- stirring performances by "American Idol" Ruben Studdard, Tye Tribbett & GA, Fred Hammond, CeCe Winans & Marvin Sapp and Rickey Dillard & New G.
This year's bronze anniversary celebration concluded with a high-energy, foot-stomping finale by Kirk Franklin and God's Property. They were joined by the Texas Southern University "Ocean of Soul" Marching Band plus steppers and signers who performed a rousing medley of "Melodies from Heaven/Why I Sing/Lean On Me/Stomp."
The "20th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards" airs in national syndication over broadcast and cable television from January 22 to February 20, 2005. Please check local listings for dates and times. For a complete list of winners log on to www.stellarawards.com