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.

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