Gospel music pioneer Kirk Franklin and a few of his celebrity friends kicked off BET’s “Saving Our Selves” relief concert this week by performing a new rendition of his gospel hit, “I Smile.”
Franklin recruited singers Kelly Price, Fantasia, and Tyrese, along with gospel singers Jonathan McReynolds, Melvin Crispell III, and Le’Andria Johnson to kick off the BET special.
“I Smile” was first released in 2011 and was awarded the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Song.
The new recording of “I Smile” is the first time R&B singer and “Fast & Furious” actor Tyrese Gibson, synonymously know as Tyrese, has been featured on a gospel recording.
“I didn’t think I needed this, but I do now,” Tyrese wrote on Instagram.
In a subsequent post, he thanked Franklin and everyone else who was involved in the project. “We put smiles on faces and piss the devil off at the same damn time!!!!!”
The BET event was held to raise money to help African Americans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The network partnered with the NAACP, United Way Worldwide, civil rights groups and business communities to offer financial support and resources to benefit African American communities that have been most affected by the virus.
“Saving Our Selves” was hosted by actors Anthony Anderson, Regina Hall, Kelly Rowland, of Destiny’s Child and Terrence J.
Included in the lineup of performers for “SOS” following Franklin’s introduction were: Alicia Keys, John Legend, Usher, Jermaine Dupri, Ella Mai, Jhene Aiko, Chloe X Halle, H.E.R., Ludacris, Swae Lee, and others.