FANTASIA, DONNIE MCCLURKIN, MARVIN WINANS, BISHOP PAUL S. MORTON AND MORE JOINED HOSTS SHERRI SHEPHERD AND KIRK FRANKLIN FOR GOSPEL CELEBRATION
The 14th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration kicked off Super Bowl Weekend at the University of New Orleans, Lakefront Arena on February 1, 2013. The show was hosted by Emmy Award-winning co-host of ABC’s “The View,” Sherri Shepherd, and seven-time Grammy Award-winning gospel artist Kirk Franklin. The evening was full of great performances, memorable moments and appearances by NFL players and special guests, all on one stage to celebrate the love of faith, gospel music and football. The show, sponsored by American Family Insurance and Toyota, airs in national syndication over broadcast television stations during February 2013.
The evening kicked off with this year’s NFL “Players’ Choice” — hip-hop Christian artist Lecrae — with a sensational performance of “Tell The World” that brought the audience to their feet. Lecrae, personally chosen by top NFL Players, also performed his song “I Know” later in the evening. Bishop Paul S. Morton gave a soul-stirring performance of “Let It Rain.” Myron Butler turned the arena into a praise party with a foot-stomping performance of “Set Me Free.”
Grammy Award-winning artist and American Idol winner Fantasia performed a heart-warming rendition of the Sam Cooke classic “A Change Is Gonna Come” with her mother, Diane Barber. They also left the audience anointed with an awe-inspiring performance of “Nobody Greater.”
Perhaps the most memorable event of the night was a special appearance by Ray Lewis of the newly crowned Super Bowl XLVII champions — Baltimore Ravens — who was honored with the prestigious “Lifetime Of Inspiration” Award. The award honored Lewis for his faith-filled determination to overcome trials and tribulations on and off the field, while recognizing him for his remarkable football career. Ray Lewis, who was joined on stage by his family, gave a moving acceptance speech and powerful testimony that brought the audience to tears.
The award had only been presented once in the history of the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration to Former NFL Head Coach Tony Dungy in 2009, as it has been reserved to celebrate extraordinary individuals who have impacted the sport and community.
Hosts Sherri Shepherd and Kirk Franklin, brought humor to the hearts of the audience withlighthearted jokes — with Shepherd even spoofing her ability to sing and hit high notes like a seasoned gospel singer.
Additional highlights from the soulful evening included Marvin Winans singing “Awaken” and “Let The Church Say Amen;” Kirk Franklin elevated spirits with his song “I Smile;” Donnie McClurkin gave an emotional performance of “Hail Jesus,” and was joined by Kirk Franklin and the popular NFL Players Choir to sing “Ooh Child.” The NFL Players Choir, composed exclusively of 40 current and former players, including Hall Of Famers and Pro Bowlers, was one of the most anticipated performances during the celebration.
Since its inception in 1999, the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration has donated a portion of its proceeds and more than 4,000 tickets to local and national charities. This year’s benefactors included the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, founded by Malcolm Jenkins of the New Orleans Saints, and The Sharper Kids Foundation, founded by Darren Sharper formerly of the New Orleans Saints and his brother former Seattle Seahawk Jamie Sharper.
About The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration:
The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration was launched in Miami in 1999 during Super Bowl XXXIII weekend. In 2002, the event became the first, and remains the only concert sanctioned by the National Football League (NFL). The show has drawn crowds in the thousands and has demonstrated growth year-after-year, selling out venues in major Super Bowl host cities including Dallas, Tampa, Detroit, Jacksonville, Houston and Phoenix.
SUPER BOWL CHAMPION AND BALTIMORE RAVENS STAR RAY LEWIS HONORED WITH THE “LIFETIME OF INSPIRATION” AWARD