The Stellar Awards have been around since 1984 (I was 4 y’all!) and ever since I was a young girl, gospel music has been a part of my life. From Saturday morning cleaning sessions – if you heard the radio come on at 7 am, you knew what time it was – to Sunday morning services full of organs, drums and guitars. The church has ALWAYS been a part of my life, that’s why it’s only natural that I’ve partnered with AT&T and their Dream In Black mission as they sponsored the 34th annual awards ceremony.
Gospel music to me has always been very connecting. The way folks who LOVE country because there is a song for every situation, I feel about gospel music. When my grandmother, sister, and pastor died, there were songs I kept on heavy rotation. When I was preparing for my wedding, there were songs that I listened to daily. When I found out I was pregnant with Nathaniel, there were songs that kept me with my head above water and putting one foot in front of the other. When my parents announced last year that they were divorcing? Yep, gospel music kept me functioning. Because there is always a message in the music and the lyrics, and those messages kept me here.
Now, to get into my favorite moments of the Stellar Awards. I’m going to give a copout answer. There were too many to name. We had a Twitter party tonight (were you there) and they asked me what my favorite part was at a certain point. I think the opening was what really cemented the fact that I was going to enjoy the entire 2-hour celebration. Hezekiah Walker showed up on stage and sang a melody of some of his BEST songs. These were songs that Mr Houseful and I sang together in the Jr & Youth Choir when we were teenagers. The memories of the practices every Saturday each September and October to get the harmony just right. Our choir director Janelle Burton – God rest her soul – and her assistants in the choir made the time that we were in it enjoyable. Gosh, I miss it.
The fact that we were able to sit around the television as a family and see a celebration of the music I grew up on, and music my children love and know the lyrics to made me smile. While I’m a bit more relaxed with my children than my parents were with me, I’m still pretty conservative about the music they listen to. Messages set to music seem to be embedded in our young folks a lot easier than just telling them. My kids pick up on information easily when it’s set to music. It’s one of the reasons why we’ve started using music to teach homeschool lessons. Because they remember those messages. I just want the messages that they receive and commit to memory to be ones I can be proud of.
Jonathan McReynolds – CHI-CITY stand UP – winning 7 Stellar Awards out of his NINE nominations really made me smile big too. He’s a product of the Church of God In Christ (COGIC) and we’ve fellowshipped together several times over the years. We finally got new music from Kirk Franklin.
I know that music is an international language, but there is something about gospel music that just settles the soul. And my soul has been giving thanks for a LONG time.
Dream in Black from AT&T is a platform and a movement that celebrates black culture and achievement while encouraging the bold pursuit of goals. We Dream in Black here in Chicago through our work with We Sow We Grow and homeschooling our children. We want to teach EVERYONE how their food goes from seed to plate – not just farm to plate – and to encourage a love of agriculture and the technology used to grow our food. It’s important for me to see faces like mine in the field of agriculture and to see them interacting with the folks who have been the face of agriculture for so long.