WATCH: Gospel Goes to Hollywood, Black Stars for God


Not the typical setting for a religious event was the Taglyan Cultural Complex in Hollywood. But esteemed black celebrities sprinkled in prepared to listen to gospel music, to tribute a fallen star and to honor a selected few, during Oscar week. They came to share faith stories and openly celebrate its presence in the entertainment industry with the 1st annual Gospel Goes to Hollywood, 2012.

In the spirit of the Oscars, seveal of Hollywood’s familiar black celebrities, including Kim Whitley and Sheryl Lee Ralph announced performances and handed out awards.  Comedian Jonathan Slocumb tried to get the luncheon started, asking participants to take their seats, but it took a stronger more in command, although feminine voice, Desiree Jackson, to finally get the crowd’s attention moving the show along. Jackson belted out in song for just a few moments, and set the tone for a gospel and musically stirring event.
A participant in the hallway asked when is this thing going to start. Another answered, Noon CPT time. But, the show didn’t start too late, and judging from the standing ovation when Angella Christie performed playing her saxophone – saluting Whitney Houston, the short wait was well worth it.
As the celebrities and their families and friends sat down for an elegant lunch of salad, salmon and beef , roasted potatoes and steamed asparagus and carrots – the Gospel Goes to Hollywood 2012 celebrity host and guests entertained. Plus, Bill Duke, Curtis King and Loretta Devine were honored for their outstanding achievements.  One-by-one, each honoree credited hard work and a steady dose of faith as the power behind their successes.
In front of a large screen showing clips of Whitney Houston throughout the years, CeCe Winans performed a special tribute to the recently belated. Donnie McClurkin performed in tribute to Houston, as well. CeCe tickled the audience with facts about her friendship and said everybody who knew Whitney knows how hyper she was. She said also, one thing she was sure of was that Whitney knew God loved her.
“No matter what we do, no matter what our call is we all have to be reminded of why we do what we do. And that we really all have but one responsibility and that is to please the audience of one,” Winans said before singing “For Love Alone” from her album entitled CeCe Winans.

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Billie Jordan