Hosted by author and comedian Steve Harvey, who kept audiences entertained with his signature comedy routine that included reflections on attending church services, the two-hour special, which pays tribute to the rich history of gospel music, included energetic and eclectic performances by Tye Tribbett, Pastor Shirley Caesar and Yolanda Adams.
Yolanda Adams performing on stage
Harvey, a best-selling author who hosts “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” and “Family Feud” has hosted the annual show since 2000. At the annual showcase held at the historic Orpheum Theater, several gospel celebrities includingDr. Bobby Jones who has been instrumental in bringing gospel to the mainstream and actress and gospel singer Tamela Mann who also performed, shared why they are avid supporters of the event.
Singers Tyrese Gibson (L) and Le’Andria Johnson perform onstage during the BET Celebration of Gospel
“It is a show BET puts on each year which serves to remind people about the good news. It’s like a big musical and we are coming to celebrate God,” she said.
Singer Pastor Shirley Caesar onstage
“We sing about an everlasting life,” said Dr. Bobby Jones, “and we have celebrate it.”
Tamar Braxton performs during the BET Celebration of Gospel 2013
Other chart-topping artists who graced the elaborate stage included Le’Andria Johnson and Tyrese Gibson, Karen Clark Sheard and daughter Kierra “Kiki” Sheard, R&B vocalist Tamar Braxton, Anita Baker, Smokie Norful and Jessica Reedy who is working on a new album due for release later in the year.
Gospel rapper Da T.R.U.T.H. who just returned from a four week tour in Nigeria where he has been promoting his new album “Love, hope and war” also performed.
Singers Malik Spence, Ajanee Hambrick, Richard Tolbert, Ariel Malloy and Kenneth Williams of the group LIVRE
Kicking off the annual 13th Celebration of Gospel was a special annual faith-based prayer breakfast created to unite various religions, cultures and denominations together the day before the taping of the show. Participants included Grammy winning gospel artist Dorinda Clark Cole, comedian Nikita B. and Columbia Tristar Pictures executive and author DeVon Franklin. With a performance by the gospel group Livre, the prayer breakfast meeting was hosted by entertainment personality Fonzworth Bentley.
Recording artist Anthony Brown and his ensemble Group Therapy performing
The Celebration of Gospel will air on Sunday, April 7th at 8:00 p.m. on BET.
Samantha Ofole-Prince is a journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news that includes television and film. She serves as the Entertainment Editor for Trendy Africa.
Photos by Kevin Winter and Maury Phillips/Getty Images
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