29th Annual Stellar Awards Show Has Several Alabama Connections

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WHNT) - The Stellar Awards are known as the Grammys of the gospel music industry. The Grammys were in Los Angeles. The Stellar Awards were held in the Music City. A Muscle Shoals woman was among gospel's heavy-hitters. It is one of the biggest nights in gospel music.

“I`ve been in the music industry over 20 years. I've got several Stellars. We can`t miss this because this is where your friends come back to every year. So, this is like a family reunion for us,” said Gospel Singer Ben Tankard.

The Stellar Awards show was back in Nashville for the second year in a row. The awards ceremony is in its 29th year.

Daytime talk show Host Sherri Shepherd and National Radio Host Rickey Smiley hosted the awards. Smiley is no stranger to Huntsville.

“I performed at Alabama A&M more than I performed at my alma mater Alabama State University,” said Smiley.

Gospel greats Shirley Caesar, Karen Clark-Sheard and Tamela Mann were there. Muscle Shoals' very own Hayley Reed was also on the stage.

“It was the most amazing experience I`ve ever encountered. It was a dream come true,” said Reed.

Reed was part of the house choir and sang back up for every performer.

“It was very fun. I got to talk to a lot of them. They are just normal down to Earth people,” added Reed.

The artists are not the only down to Earth people. Mann, known for her acting and singing, thought the same about us in Huntsville.

“I love them back. If I could hug and kiss everybody I would, but there is no way possible. Just know, from my heart and I mean it, I really thank God for the support,” added Mann.

She visited Oakwood University in August 2013.

Clark-Sheard, who's also visited churches in Huntsville, agrees.

“They just give me so much love. That`s what Huntsville means to me. Of course, every time we come there, they are always loving and embracing us. They just have a warm spirit there,” said Clark-Sheard.

Lexi performed and felt more than a warm spirit.

“There`s just so much going. Then, to have me get up to try to do a number, I tell you, I almost blacked out. I swear to God. I went to hit a note and got light-headed,” said Lexi

Actress Kimberly Elise, who's working on a television series and movie alongside Whoopi Goldberg and Ving Rhames, was also at the Stellar Awards.

“We had a good time. This is where we are just working with great talent and great people more than anything else,” said Elise.

There were several people from the Huntsville area working behind the scenes at this year’s Stellar Awards.


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