2016 Steller Awards
By: Carlton McConnell
It was the ‘Superbowl’ of Gospel Music…the 2016 Stellar Awards, a celebration of the finest artists the Gospel music world has to offer.
The 31st edition of this annual event was held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. For one day, February 20th, the so-called “Sin City,” became “Salvation City,” with more than 10-thousand people from across America on hand for what may have been the greatest praise and worship session on the planet!
This year’s hosts for the taped, 2 hour show recognizing the top Gospel performers of 2015, were comedian Ricky Smiley and actress Sherri Shepard. It was, in fact, an historic night, as Anthony Brown & Group Therapy, won a total of 10 Stellar awards for their album, “Everyday Jesus.” That eclipsed the previous record of 7 Stellars given to Bishop Marvin Sapp in 2009.
Other multiple award winners at this year’s show were Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago (4 Stellars) and Tasha Cobbs (3 Stellars).
There was a special, surprise guest who made an appearance at the awards program -- former First Lady, Secretary of State, and current presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.
The CEO of Dallas area based 'Round the Clock Entertainment Group,' Carlton McConnell, was among 10 recipients of a special award from the mayor of Long Beach, California, the honorable Robert Garcia.
McConnell was honored specifically for his efforts to promote the work of new, Independent Gospel Artists. It was through his guidance that many ‘indie’ artists got the exposure necessary to share their musical gifts to Gospel fans across theglobe. For the past 10-years, Long Beach has hosted one of the nation’s largest, free, Gospel Music festivals.
McConnell partnered with 'Mixed Bag Entertainment' with the public launch of a new CD from the grammy nominated group, “Virtue”. An exclusive premiere party was held the night before the awards show in a penthouse suite at the Bellagio hotel, where the group’s album, “Fearless,” was introduced to a group of industry executives, radio and television show announcers from around the United States. Other award-winning artists stopped by to show their support of the highly anticipated "Virtue" album release.
This year’s Stellar Awards also marked the first time for Round the Clock being an official media sponsor for the show -- a production of Chicago based, “Central City Productions.” The head of Central City, Erma Davis, said she was “delighted to welcome Round the Clock onboard.” It's hoped this will be the start of a long relationship between the Stellar Awards and Round the Clock Entertainment Group.
The 2016 Stellar Awards show was premiere March 6th at 5pm -- on the cable channel, TV One. There will be several encore showings of the program. Please consult your local listings for dates and times.