*Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), the global leader in music rights management, brought legends and contemporary stars together to celebrate the careers of gospel giants Edwin Hawkins, Lady Tramaine Hawkins, and Kurt Carr at its 14th annual Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards Luncheon in Nashville recently.
In addition, the event, held at Rocketown, also recognized BMI’s Most-Performed Gospel Song of the Year: Kirk Franklin’s “I Smile.” The song, pulled from the gold-certified album Hello Fear, topped gospel charts and achieved historic crossover success while amassing more than 500,000 performances. To help celebrate this astounding achievement, The Walls Group surprised the audience with a memorable performance of the song Franklin co-penned.
CeCe Winans and Donnie McClurkin hosted the luncheon, along with Del Bryant, BMI President & CEO, and Catherine Brewton, BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations.
Musical tributes began with an awe-inspiring nod to Kurt Carr featuring the Donald Lawrence & Co. singers, Lisa Knowles, Sheri Jones-Moffett, and Amber Bullock. The charismatic songs of Edwin Hawkins were then celebrated with dynamic performances by Pastor Shirley Ceasar, Bishop Paul Morton, LaShun Pace, Kierra Sheard, Jason Nelson and Jonathan Nelson. Finally, an all-star collection of artists, including Anaysha Figueroa, Le’ Andria Johnson, VaShawn Mitchell and Yolanda Adams, performed a rousing tribute to Lady Tramaine Hawkins, which served as the event’s triumphant finale.
*Sheryl Lee Ralph is on a steady roll with her annual World AIDS Day event – DIVAS Simply Singing!.
Each year the singer and former “Dreamgirls” star has wowed audiences and supporters with a phenomenal musical show and awards ceremony; to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.
This year’s line up includes Oleta Adams, Faith Evans, A’ngela Winbush, Tramaine Hawkins, Lalah Hathaway, Jennifer Lewis, Kristinia DeBarge, and the Hill Sisters.
A special note about all of this year’s participants is that everyone has been impacted by HIV/AIDS in some way.
DIVAS Simply Singing! is an annual benefit concert, produced in conjunction with The DIVA Foundation to help raise money and awareness about HIV/AIDS.
DIVAS Simply Singing! is the longest consecutive running musical AIDS benefit concert in the country, raising awareness and erasing stigma, one song at a time, to help and assist AIDS organizations in Los Angeles and around the world.
The 22nd annual DIVAS Simply Singing! will take place on Dec. 1 at Club Nokia L.A. LIVE at 7:30 p.m.
*The dynamic Gospel sister duo, Mary Mary has made waves in the Gospel music industry and now they are being recognized for their work.
Both Tina and Erica Campbell are to be honored during an all-star salute at the Essence Music Festival.
But the celebration could not be complete without a little love to ever evolving Fred Hammond.
This celebration isn’t something to miss. Other appearances include Yolanda Adams, Maurette Brown Clark, Kim Burrell, Byron Cage, Tyronne Foster & The Arc Singers, Tramaine Hawkins, Israel Houghton, Bishop Lester Love and Pastor Marvin Winans.
The salute will take place Sunday, July 8 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
*Gospel music icon Bishop Walter Hawkins passed away in at his home in Ripon, CA on Sunday after suffering with pancreatic cancer, according to online reports. He was 61
According to his older brother Edwin, Walter fought a brave battle with the disease.
“Today, I lost my brother, my pastor, and my best friend … Bishop Hawkins suffered bravely but now he will suffer no more and will be greatly missed,” he said.
Hawkins was a contemporary gospel forerunner who rose to prominence as a member of the Hawkins Singers along with his brother in the late sixties.
The articulate tenor’s tender voice possessed authority and a tonal quality second to none as demonstrated on the duet he shared as a featured artist with Donald Lawrence on the 2002 Tri-Cities Singers recording, “Seasons.”
The Christian Music Hall of Fame inductee was also the former husband of gospel legend Tramaine Hawkins. He was also the beloved pastor of Love Center Ministries in Oakland. In May of this year he was saluted with a sixty-first birthday celebration
Hawkins is survived by two children, Trystan Hawkins and Walter “Jamie” Hawkins Jr., an R&B singer; a daughter-in-law, gospel singer Myiia “Sunny” Hawkins; two grandchildren, Jamie-Daniel and Jahve; and his siblings, Carol, Feddie, Edwin, Daniel, and Lynette.
Walter (and Edwin) Hawkins also performed “Marvelous” & “Oh Happy Day” at the White House: