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BETs Celebration of Gospel: Spirit in Song

Gail Choice | 4/30/2009, 5 p.m.

Get ready to clap your hands, Praise the Lord, and shout Hallelujah as gospel music superstars take the stage in a magnificent celebration of song. BET's eighth annual celebration hosts such personalities as Grammy Award® winners Kirk Franklin, Patti LaBelle, John Legend, Dr. Bobby Jones and Pastor Shirley Caesar.

"Gospel music is such big business now; it has evolved over the years. In fact it's bigger than jazz, it's bigger than blues, look out R&B because Gospel music is a world within itself," so says Pastor Shirley Caesar who's spent some 40 years singing praises to the Lord through Gospel music. Historically, gospel music birthed the aforementioned art forms.

Indeed, it appears in today's climate, more and more people are turning to the words of the Gospel, through the pulpit and song. Gospel music has evolved since its humble slave beginnings, yet the message remains the same, the feeling of jubilation continues to exist, and the power of the Word still rings out. Never mind the praise dancers, urban dancers, rappers and the big band sound, gospel music delivers the same impact.

Kirk Franklin kicks the celebration off with "Declaration (This is It)" a multi-layered song complete with dancers and a big sound. Needless to say the audience is on their feet as he delivers as only he and his singers can.

Patti Labelle quickly follows with the soul searching song "Walk Around Heaven." The audience was once again on their feet. And the audience was up again when Dr. Bobby Jones and J Moss sang "Thank You Lord." Dr. Jones also showed his praise style with a very urban dance routine.

Dr. Jones has been credited with helping to bring gospel music to the masses via BET and his world travels.

As an extra added treat, and a change of tempo, actor Henry Simmons (CBS's Shark) lends his dynamic speaking voice to the biblical teachings of Moses which leads into superstar John Legend singing "Show Me."

Another highlight was the showcasing the talents of the four runners up and winner Crystal Aiken of "Sunday Best" BET's new launching pad for the brightest young talents in gospel music. The group was later joined by the one and only Fred Hammond s as they sang "Spirit of The Lord/Loud, Loud."

The talent and music is so extraordinary that it will become one of those DVD's you play again and again. From BeBe Winans singing "I Feel Like Going On", and then he breaks into "Everything's Going to be Alright." To J Moss and Kierra "Kiki" Sheard singing "Jump, Jump" it's just non-stop Praising the Lord.

Pastor Shirley Caesar while singing the soul stirring gospel song "Never" shared a personal story regarding one of her family members, and how his faith saved him.

The DVD also includes the special feature "Wise Words with Pastor Shirley Caesar" where she discusses faith, gospel music and those who contribute to it.

Also included in the Special Features section is Access Gospel, a look behind the scenes, red carpet interviews and much more.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson also made an appearance eloquently introducing Marvin Sapp singing "Never Would Have Made It" which brought the house down.

BET's Celebration of Gospel: Spirit in Song will be available in stores April 29, for the suggested retail price of $19.99. This is a must have DVD for all you lovers of gospel music.

- Gail Choice is a writer/producer. She can be reached by e-mail at gcprods@aol.com