BET NETWORKS RAISES THE PRAISE WITH HEART-WARMING, FOOT-STOMPING, SPIRIT-FILLED PERFORMANCES AT THE 12TH ANNUALCELEBRATION OF GOSPEL PREMIERING SUNDAY, APRIL 1 AT 8:00 P.M.*
Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Fred Hammond, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Jennifer Holliday, Le'Andria Johnson, Faith Evans, Johnny Gill, Kelly Price, Amber Riley of "Glee" and More Join Host Steve Harvey For Gospel Music's Biggest Praise Party
LOS ANGELES, CA - March 27, 2012 - BET Networks makes a joyful noise on Palm Sunday, April 1 at 8:00 p.m.* with the premiere of "CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL 2012 - Rise Up! Renew! Rejoice." Taped at the historic Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, the two-hour show was once again hosted by veteran comedian, actor and radio personality, Steve Harvey. The #1 gospel telecast since its inception brings mainstream artists and gospel greats together on one amazing stage.
Ricky Dillard and New G Choir joined R&B sensation Johnny Gill to open the show with a sensational performance of "He Turned It." Original Dream Girl Jennifer Holliday and "Glee" star Amber Riley joined gospel legends Pastor Shirley Caesar and Yolanda Adams to pay tribute to Mahalia Jackson, the "Mother of Gospel Music," four-time Grammy award winner, civil rights activist and vocal powerhouse. The artists performed an anointed gospel medley including "Precious Lord," "Move on up A Little Higher," "His Eye is on the Sparrow," and "How I Got Over" accompanied by organist Moses Tyson, Jr. Whitney Houston, whose singing gift was anchored in her gospel roots, was remembered with a poignant moment by Kelly Price who sang an emotionally charged rendition of "Jesus Loves Me."
Additional highlights from the soulful celebration include Grammy-award winner Kirk Franklin and Mali Music coming together to perform their new hit, "Give Me"; James Fortune & FIYA featuring Zacardi Cortez & Le'Andria Johnson blazed the stage with "It Could Be Worse"; Isaac Carree, former backup singer for Kirk Franklin took center stage for the first time with his old-school inspired performance featuring a surprise guest appearance from Fonzworth Bentley; Ledisi left audience members speechless singing "Holy One"; Ending the night was an awe-inspiring performance from Maurette Brown Clark singing "I Hear the Sound of Victory."
In addition to musical performances, Dr. Bobby Jones, of BET's long-running gospel show "BOBBY JONES GOSPEL" and actress Wendy Raquel Robinson of BET's #1 sitcom "THE GAME" delivered beautiful spoken word selections.
For additional information on BET's CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL, go to BET.com/celebrationofgospel
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· On Twitter by using hashtag: #CelebrateGospel and following us @BETGospel
CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL is a BET Networks production. Stephen Hill, BET's President of Music Programming and Specials, Lynne Harris Taylor, Vice President of Specials and Music Production and Executive Producer Geovanni Brewer will oversee production. Conductor Ray Chew ("American Idol") returns as the show's musical director.
*All times are ET/PT.
**Source: The Nielsen Company
About BET Networks:
BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com
, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; CENTRIC, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the 25- to 54-year-old African-American audience; BET Digital Networks - BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company with festivals and live events spanning the globe; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET in the United Kingdom and oversees the extension of BET network programming for global distribution.