Saturday, February 20, 2016

Contemplations of Stellar Awards 2016.... Live Blogging....

Thus far, we have seen Maurette Brown Clark, Donald Lawrence and Brian Courtney Wilson. I have been impressed with the contemplations and energy shared by each of these artists. They have a great testimony and perspective on their art. For Brian Courtney Wilson, I watched him receive an honor from ASCAP during the ASCAP/Motown Gospel breakfast. I was immediately struck how humble Brian is. He is one who definitely isn't forgetting where he came from and remains grounded in the memory of his previous circumstances. He shared a profound perspective in that he talked about coming to the Stellar Awards in previous years wondering if anyone even saw him. You know we can come to events and no one knows our name... Brian reminded us that faithfulness is the way to success... We have got to keep at it...

Donald Lawrence and Maurette Brown Clark shared how proud they are to see Anthony Brown gain so may  accolades in this day and time.... He paid his dues playing and singing for them and now it is his time....

I am curious about Iyanla VanZant .....

Interesting... Ricky Dillard says that when he first came to the Stellars he was considered contemporary, now he is considered traditional.. just to show how long he has been around. He also remarks that when he firs came out he was revolutionary, controversial, but nowadays there are many imitators....

I must say that covering the Stellar Awards and how they manage their media room is a different experience from other awards shows....

Hezekiah Walker shares with us how he has been going to South Africa for the last nine years.. he has a church, he's adopted a school and continues to do mission work on the continent. He encourages everyone to step out from here in America and we will learn there is more to life than what we see and are conditioned....

Listening to Ben Tankard and his wife.... they have a reality show and financial empowerment programs for women....

The 2016 Stellar Awards - Gospel's Biggest Night - live blogged

So it's awards season and her I am again... in the media room trying to share sights and sounds as today's hottest artists receive their honors for their efforts and releases of the past year. The Stellar Awards is gospel music's biggest night. It is a huge honor to say one is Stellar Award nominated artist or radio station and it is an even more magnificent honor to say one is Stellar Award winner.

In my many years of experience, I have never experienced the Stellar Awards. I am an integral member of the team that earned a Stellar Award for KJLH Radio as Radio Station of the Year. But I have never attended this auspicious occasion. And so here I am.

Now you must understand that this isn't just one evening of an awards show... This is an entire weekend of showcases and special events. I attended the official All White Party when I arrived in LAs Vegas. And while I had no idea what to expect, I was really impressed with the attendance and the quality of attendees. I mean Doug Williams, Edwin Hawkins, Byron Cage, Richard Smallwood just to name a few. I witnessed some excellent music ministries of up and coming  artists... it was awesome.

I then rushed over to the other side of town to attend Gerald and Tammi Haddon's Love and Lyrics Showcase. Now THIS was rockn.... I saw Anthony Brown and Group Therapy, Jonathan McReynolds,  plus an exceptional lineup of independent artists. It was phenomenal.

I also attended the ASCAP/Motown Gospel breakfast. This performing rights agency took this opportunity to honor all the nominees on the Motown Gospel Label. It was a nice way to start the day.... And now I'm backstage at the Awards Ceremony.

The opening number was delivered by Anthony Brown and Group Therapy and it definitely set the tone for the evening... I really like this group. He is authentic and his song Worthy really ministers to me..

Charles Jenkins won for Choir of the Year and Anthony Brown just won for Male Vocalist of the year.

I have some more observations in a bit

Monday, February 15, 2016

Contemplations of the Grammy Awards... a final thought..

And so this is the part of when the Grammy Awards media room experience gets a bit boring... The show is over but we are sitting here waiting to see if Kendrick Lamar or Taylor Swift will come back. So far, Earth Wind and Fire came back briefly. I was able to offer my condolences to my favorite group of all time...

Just saw the group Alabama Shakes who has a new fan in me... They are dope.. I thought they were being billed as a country band but they are actually a alternative, rock....

Neil Portnow is now explaining why Rihanna did not show... Apparently she has a flu bug and is on some antibiotics.. Doctors orders.. immediate bed rest.. she made rehearsals but fell sick and the doctor ordered her to bed rest..

He is now explaining Adele's lackluster performance.... a microphone inside the piano fell down and the performance suffered....

He is now explaining why Lauryn Hill was missing in action for the Weeknd's performance... She did not make the rehearsals earlier in the week, however, made this morning's rehearsals... Nonetheless she missed her call time .. after hearing that she was three minutes away, ten minutes away... minutes wwwwway until in the end, she missed her call time and there it is... Neil Portnow says and I agree, that he isn't responsible for how she handled her appointments but in the end, The Weeknd gets props for standing up and pushing through.... he killed it....

Neil Portnow answers these journalist questions about "warnings" that Kendrick Lamar's performance would be "controversial" and how did he plan to "handle it"... Mr. Portnow responds by saying I don't know how or where this word controversial came from and that he feels Kendrick delivered a "vignette" that is powerful, artistic...  a statement...

Mr. Portnow also speaks to the grumblings about who to posthumously honor.. He says that in his tenure this is the most we have lost. He has never seen anything like this. He says that if you look in the program book there are hundreds that we lost and it was quite hard to choose who to honor... But there are at least three pages of names of the ones who have transitioned in the last year....

Well, I think I a going to get out of here... pack it in.... In the end, it has been a great night for music.. This, in my opinion was a greatly improved Grammy Award Show..... Props to the Recording Academy.

Contemplations at the 58th Grammy Awards - Kendrick Lamar

So we are here live blogging backstage at the 58th Grammy Awards. The buzz going in has been the 11 nominations for Kendrick Lamar. Thus far, he has won five... four during the three hour preshow which is not televised. After winning the Rap Album of the year, a category which was televised, Kendrick proceeded to rip the stage with a tremendous and incredibly poignant, artistic, powerful live performance. Just so you know, it's taken me a full hour to come down to consciousness after this emotional presentation.

First I was amazed at the look of shock on the faces of my colleagues here in the media room of the Grammy Awards. I'm sure at first, their cross town perspective was assaulted by the imagery of the black men shackled together in a prison line as Kendrick spit lyrical about the hatred America seems to possess against the black man. I was touched deeply by Kendrick's lyricism and the imagery. I mean it hit me hard... 

Earlier today, as Angelique Kidjo came back to the media room after winning the best world music honor, she used the platform to promote world peace and to encouraged artists to use their creative platform to fight against hatred and racism. To build a message of peace and unity through music. It was a profound a great message in answer to a question posed by one of the journalists here who used Kendrick Lamar as an example of an artist who used violence and hatred in his music. Clearly this man did not know Kendrick Lamar.

I don't think anyone was prepared for what we saw in Kendrick's performance. For me, not only was it a powerful political statement, the performance was poignant because just two days ago, I was in attendance as the City of Compton presented Kendrick with a key to the City. I learned where Kenrick came from. I learned of his desire to give back to the community... I heard from his teachers, I saw his family, his folks from the hood. And now, I see him here, at music's biggest night.. leading the nominations, winning five thus far as I write this.

But the performance surely must go down as one of the best in Grammy History. It was powerful.

Ladies and Gentlemen... Kendrick Lamar is king tonight!!