Mona Austin

*Unfortunately you may have missed your chance to enter online casting for BET’s “Sunday Best,” which ended Friday, 01-22-10.

The online casting does not replace the live auditions before the judges, but winners, selected by public votes, will secure an audition slot. This year Donnie McClurkin is on board as one of the judges along with Mary Mary.  Kirk Franklin is the show host once again.

Offline auditions begin in February. Check out the Season 3 audition schedule here.

Don’t miss your chance to prove yourself vocally! The show has gone global, having already conducted audition in Lagos, Nigeria. This could be the break you’ve been looking for.

Gospel Artists Unite For Haitian Relief Song: Kirk Franklin rallies peers for worthy cause

The vast majority of the gospel industry was in Nashville, TN already poised to lift their voices for the 25th Annual Stellar Awards a week ago.

In support of relief efforts in earthquake shattered Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Kirk Franklin acted as the “MJ of Gospel” and seized the moment to galvanize his peers for recording what has been dubbed the gospel community’s answer to “We Are the World.” With the cooperation of various “go-to” people in the gospel industry, a historic call to action was answered quickly to quell the cries of Haiti’s desperate survivors.

The word spread rapidly via social media, emails and a personal plea from Franklin at a scheduled industry prayer service that not only were the prayers of the gospel industry needed, but so were their voices. Within 48-hours, a 150-member, all-star gospel chorus, now known as Artists United for Haiti, came together to record “Are You Listening?: A Love Song for Haiti,” some working into the wee hours of the morning.

As “Are You Listening?: A Love Song for Haiti” was recorded to raise funds for recovery efforts in the third world island, 100% of the proceeds will go directly to Haiti relief. While everyone invovled donated their time and talent for the cause as an expression of compassion, Claude Latalliade’s connection to the project was more personal. A Port-au-Prince native, the Director of Central South Distribution/Gospo Centric Records co-founder Lataillade, has family in Haiti.

“It’s really sad. It’s the worst scenario for Haiti. They don’t have the right infrastructure to handle the kind of devastation that has befallen Port-au-Prince. What I’m hoping is with all this world outpouring, Haiti can get a fresh start out of the ashes,” he said according to Gospel Music Channel.

Artists United for Haiti includes (listed in alphabetical order) Yolanda Adams; Jeremy Camp; Shirley Caesar; Dorinda Clark-Cole; Natalie Grant; Fred Hammond; Tamela & David Mann; Mary Mary; Donnie McClurkin; Bishop Paul S. Morton; J. Moss; Smokie Norful; Marvin Sapp; Karen Clark-Sheard; Kiera “KiKi” Sheard; BeBe Winans; CeCe Winans and Marvin Winans along with other gospel artists featured in choir including Shari Addison; Kathy Taylor Brown; John Gray; Anthony and Tarsha Hamilton, Bishop Darryl Hines; Stephen Hurd; Karima Kibble; Judith McAllister; Nicole C. Mullen; Jessica Reedy; The Neville Sisters; Troy Sneed; Micah Stampley; Melinda Watts and Brian Courtney Wilson.

Franklin recognizes Americans are struggling economically, but the needs of our neighbors in the Atlantic ocean are more dire.

“This initiative is so important because while we are asking America to give we know that many are giving sacrificially. The people of Haiti are very spiritual people with an unwavering faith and belief in God and still count The Lord as the main source and provider. We will continue to pray and stand with them. We hope this song will bring much needed support and awareness in an effort to raise funds in the near and long-term future.”

“Are You Listening” also features top musicians in popular music including GRAMMY Award-winning co-producer Shaun Martin. Franklin is the executive producer along with, James “Jazzy” Jordan, executive vice president/GM of Verity Gospel Music Group; and Carla Williams and Jessie Hurst of FoYo Soul Entertainment.

There are numerous people in the gospel and Christian communities supporting the people of Haiti and this initiative. Top radio hosts Steve Harvey and Tom Joyner are supporting Kirk Franklin in effort to support our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean. On Friday, January 22, Kirk Franklin will do call-ins to both shows and Steve Harvey will play the song during his radiothon.

The Gospel Music Channel
The GMC ( network had exclusive access to the historic gathering and recording session. GMC is producing the official music video for “Are You Listening: A Love Song for Haiti” which will world premiere in a one hour special presentation on GMC Friday, Jan. 22 at 7:00 p.m. (ET), immediately before GMC’s airing of the global “Hope for Haiti Now” telethon (8:00 p.m.). The special will be hosted by Lisa Kimmey-Winans and will feature exclusive interview footage with Kirk Franklin from the recording session interspersed throughout multiple runs of the music video. GMC will encore the special on Saturday, Jan. 23 at 6:00 p.m. (ET). The music video will then go into heavy rotation in all GMC music video blocks. GMC will also produce and premiere an exclusive “A Love Song for Haiti: The Making of ‘Are You Listening'” behind-the-scenes special in February.

“Are You Listening” will be serviced simultaneously to a variety of radio formats, including Gospel, Urban AC and Pop to create a seamless and ubiquitous presence on the airwaves, inspiring more people to lend their hand to Haiti by purchasing the song.

“Are You Listening” will be available for purchase at starting at 5 p.m. Friday, January 22. The single will be available next week on iTunes after January 30 at Wal-Mart and other major retailers.

For additional information on the project, please visit,

In other Haiti news
Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean will host the “Hope for Haiti Now” telethon that will air on all major US networks on Friday, Jan.22. In addition to musical performances, former President Bill Clinton will appear along with Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Muhammad Ali, Leonardo DiCaprio and a host of other film, television and music stars.

The benefit will also feature Wyclef Jean reporting from New York City, George Clooney from Los Angeles and CNN’s Anderson Cooper reporting from Haiti the Albuquerque Express reports.

Designer Reco Chapple Get Inspired At The Stellar Awards: Contestant on Bravo’s The Fashion Show appreciates gospel music and fashion

Designer Reco Chapple  was doubly inspired when he attended The Stellar Awards  last week – by the fashion and the music.

“Gospel, it always inspired me to get my juices flowing and  get my day going.” Said the Chattanooga, TN native, whose all-time favorite gospel artist is Smokie Norful,  Male Volcalist of the Year winner.

Chapple also came to the award show to pull a page from the gospel industry fashion book.

“I wanted to see what everyone was wearing to give me a new direction on where I want t take my career.  In the gospel industry they love glitz,  they love glamour, they love being over the top ad that is so much my style,” admits the designer.

As the lone African American designer on season 1 of  Bravo’s the Fashion Show, Chappele’s “over-the-top” vision of style landed him the honor of fourth place finalist.  The Chattanooga, TN resident is the owner of The House of Chapple based in Atlanta.  View the video below to see who he thinks are the best dressed in gospel.

Video link:

Alvin Williams Leaves Gospel music Channel: One of the key agents in the growth of the Gospel Music Channel to start a new chapter in his career due to restructuring

Alvin Williams, Senior Director of Music, Talent and Acquisitions has exited Gospel Music Channel due to network restructuring, it was announced today. As a founding employee of Gospel Music Channel his executive stamp will be seen for years to come.

“This is the first cable network dedicated to all forms of Gospel Music and I was part of this historical moment while re-branding myself as an entertainment executive,” said Williams. “I had a great five-year run here at Gospel Music Channel, and remember when we flipped the switch to turn on Gospel Music Channel to only 3,000 homes in Jackson, TN–now at over 47 million households.”

Working on a team and learning from the best Williams had the opportunity, for five years, to work directly with Charley Humbard, Brad Siegel and Paul Butler on various projects as building a cable network, producing high quality television series as; Front Row Live, Faith and Fame, Revealed, Hype & Glory, Gospel Dream, Espiritu Latino, and other aspects of the business while creating great relationships with artists, record labels, publishing companies, managers, booking agents, and the advertising and film industries, and with other cable executives.”

“I have all this additional knowledge, said Williams. “You give a man a fish, you feed him for the day, you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. I am getting ready to catch some big fish now.”

Williams created division and companies for others as Word Records, Music World Gospel now Spirit Rising and Gospel Music Channel. Now he feels it’s time to focus on his company and his wife’s company.”

His fondest achievement, while at Gospel Music Channel, is making history by creating Gospel Music Heritage Month, which entailed the actual writing of the document that makes up the Resolution that was passed in the United States Senate and Congress.

“God allowed me to make a mark in history by giving me the ability to research the rich history of Gospel Music and present it to Senator Blanche Lincoln, Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee and Gospel Music advocate Carl Davis, to which they created the Resolution for the passage of Gospel Music Heritage Month.”

Williams will be making an announcement, of his new company structure soon, but at this time he will take some time off to spend with his wife Tammy who is the CEO of Open Rivers Pictures, a TV/film production company. “I owe her a honeymoon and it is time to pay up,” said Williams.

Alvin Williams can be reached via email at: [email protected] This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.