For over three decades the Stellar Awards have served as the premier gospel music event that honors those who've made an impact on the industry each year. Along with the awards given to the best in gospel entertainment come performances from notable voices in the industry.
As the awards show gears up for its big night in Las Vegas, Nevada's Orleans Arena on Saturday, The Christian Post is highlighting some of the most exciting moments expected to take place at the event.
1.Hosts Erica Campbell and Anthony Brown
Great events often have great emcees to narrate the festivities and the Stellars are no exception. After breaking boundaries in the gospel music industry with their respective careers, gospel artists Erica Campbell and Anthony Brown will use their gifts to serve as co-hosts for the show.
While gospel music singer Campbell has hosted events like the Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards in 2015, she has since fine tuned her hosting talents as a syndicated radio morning show host on "Get Up! Mornings with Erica Campbell."
As the frontman for Anthony Brown & group therAPy, Stellars co-host Brown is no stranger to commanding attention from a crowd. Last year, he received the most Stellar Awards from one artist during a single show in the event's history when he was honored with 10 awards.
Both of the gospel artists are used to stepping onto award show stages to perform or receive an honor, but now that they're teaming up to support their industry friends as emcees, expectations for a great show are sure to be high.
2. New artists
Since the Stellars began over 30 ago, the show has given new artists a platform to help cement themselves in the gospel music industry. This year, the number of new gospel music artists is something to be noted, according to the founder of the Stellar Awards.
"Our 2017 nominees represent the strongest group of Gospel artists and songs in our 32-year history of the Stellar Awards," Don Jackson, the founder of the Stellar Awards said in an interview with Billboard.
"This year's large number of artists who are first-time nominees is a positive testament to the new and upcoming artists in gospel music, as well as a reflection of the tremendous growth of the gospel music genre."
This year, the artists up for a "New Artist of the Year" award are Briana Babineaux, Enon Tabernacle, Livre' and Deborah Joy Winans.
3. Christian hip-hop
The Stellar Awards and the Christian hip-hop industry have an interesting history. It was only five years ago that the sub-genre of Christian music was even included in the performances for the Stellar Awards show.
In 2012, Christian rappers Canton Jones, Da T.R.U.T.H, and Lecrae broke ground with their Stellar Awards performance. However, Da T.R.U.T.H criticized the awards show for its lack of inclusion in an interview with DJ Wade-O radio two years later.
In the interview, Da. T.R.U.T.H, whose real name is Emanuel Lambert, said he didn't want to leave the gospel music industry behind even though he often felt marginalized by it.
"We're not [going to] leave the gospel music industry out. We got crazy ideas about where we're going, where we don't necessarily need them, right," he questioned, according to EEW magazine of the DJ Wade-O interview. "But we want them to be a part, because we don't want to do to them what they've done to us, which is marginalize us."
Now, Da T.R.U.T.H. has been invited to perform alongside fellow Christian rappers Canton Jones and Bizzle which is sure to be a must-see moment.
4. Stellars big announcement
This year, Stellars founder Don Jackson is promising there will be a big announcement at his annual awards show — the expansion of the brand in the form of a television network that will bring Christian entertainment to the masses beginning later this year.
"I am especially excited about the announcement we will be making at this year's show of our Stellar TV cable network," he told Billboard.
For those who are not in attendance at the awards show, TV ONE will broadcast the event at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 7 with encores at 9 and 11 p.m. ET.
The list of performers featured on the show include Tamela Mann, Shirley Caesar, Jekalyn Carr, Fred Hammond, Kirk Franklin, Bizzle, Canton Jones, Da' Truth, JJ Hairston and Youthful Praise, Travis Greene, VaShawn Mitchell, Tasha Cobbs, Doug Williams and Keith "Wonderboy" Johnson & Da Chozen Brothaz.
Special honors this year will include this year's recipient of the James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award Spencer Taylor Jr. (of the Highway QCs), and the Rev. Clay Evans who will receive the Ambassador Bobby Jones Legends Award. The Stellar Honors Hall of Fame will also induct Fred Hammond, Mississippi Mass Choir and Leonard Scott.
For more information, click here.