The biggest night in Gospel music will be honoring one of the biggest voices in the genre’s history on Easter Sunday.
The 34th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards will feature a touching tribute to Franklin’s life and legacy from powerhouse vocalists Kelly Price, Erica Campbell, and Regina Belle when it airs on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Also, Franklin’s son Kecalf Franklin, grandson Jordan Franklin, and cousin were presented with the first ever Aretha Franklin ICON Award to offer posthumous recognition of the powerful affect her work had on the genre at the ceremony.
Before she worked her way to becoming the Queen of Soul, Franklin’s throne was the choir at her father’s church where she began her singing career.
Delores Washington Green of the innovative Gospel supergroup The Caravans was presented with the Dr. Bobby Jones Legend Award to honor her contributions as well.
Other honorees celebrated for their life’s work included Malaco Gospel’s James Robinson Jr., Jackie Patillo of the Gospel Music Association and Phil Thornton of RCA Inspiration, who were inducted into the Stellar Honors Hall of Fame by Gospel star Yolanda Adams and Stellar Awards Founder, Chairman & CEO Don Jackson.
Kirk Franklin, this year’s host, also gave a lively performance where he debuted inspirational new music. The ceremony also featured incredible performances from Hezekiah Walker, Phil Thompson, Kelontae Gavin and Maranda Curtis.
The evening also highlighted the awe-inspiring talent of some of Gospel’s contemporary rising stars including “God is Good” singer Jonathan McReynolds, who completely swept the awards walking away with trophies in eight separate categories.
“You Will Win” singer Jekalyn Carr received three awards for Albertina Walker Female Vocalist of the Year, Traditional Female Vocalist of the Year and Traditional CD of the Year.
Watch the 34th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards, airing on Easter Sunday at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT. on BET.