BMI honored gospel giants Kirk Franklin and Hezekiah Walker at its 13th annual Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards Luncheon today in Nashville. Held at Rocketown, the event brought legends and contemporary stars together to celebrate the careers of two of the genre’s finest.
Marvin Sapp’s “The Best in Me” was named BMI’s Most-Performed Gospel Song of the Year. Co-written by Sapp and Aaron Lindsey, the song topped gospel charts and achieved historic crossover success, climbing from no. 78 to no. 14 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hot Songs Chart – the biggest jump for a gospel hit since Billboard began using Nielsen SoundScan 18 years ago. To celebrate, Sapp surprised the audience with a performance of “The Best in Me.”
Kim Burrell and Israel Houghton hosted the luncheon, along with Catherine Brewton, BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, and Del Bryant, BMI President & CEO.
A full slate of artists delivered stunning performances before the show, including Wess Morgan, William McDowell, Earnest Pugh and VaShawn Mitchell.
The awe-inspiring musical tribute to Hezekiah Walker featured Faith Evans, Dorinda Clark Cole, Kim Burrell, DJ Rogers, Tamela Mann, Israel Houghton and Marvin Sapp. The charismatic songs of Kirk Franklin were then celebrated with dynamic performances by Fred Hammond, Jessica Reedy and the Kirk Franklin Singers, Myron Butler, LeAndria Johnson, Isaac Carree, Rance Allen and Kim Burrell.
Finally, an all-star collection of artists gathered on stage for “Looking for You,” which served as the event’s triumphant finale.