A duet by Fantasia and mom Diane Barrino-Barber, a moving tribute to ten year host Steve Harvey, and gospel legends that brought the audience to their feet were among the evenings offerings at downtown LA’s Orpheum Theatre, the scene of the taping of BET’s 10th annual “Celebration of Gospel.”
The gloomy LA rain was no match for the celebration as the enthusiastic crowd gave ovations for almost every performance including gospel greats Bebe and Cece Winans, Yolanda Adams, Kelly Price, Fred Hammond, Rance Allen Group, and James Fortune to name a few from the evening’s stellar line-up.
A moving tribute to Steve Harvey’s ten years as host brought out a rarely seen side in the funny man as he was reduced to tears. He was comforted by his wife at his side, whom he told the crowd almost didn’t make it in to the show.
Actress Elise Neal, doing commentary for the evening stated that Steve’s wife hailed from Memphis as she did, which he then turned into a series of back and forth banter with his wife in the front row. Harvey wanted to know who was the man seated next to her, why was he in a coat as it was hot in there.
The seat-fillers for the talent were a moving target for the funny man too, as they made their way down the aisle during commercial breaks. The comedian entertained the audience putting the show staff on the spot claiming they were setting him up with wrong directions, the latest in church sayings, and his challenges with being a ‘young Christian.’
Shirley Caesar and Dr. Bobby Jones seated prominently in the audience, told the crowd of upcoming projects. The evening’s many duets included Anthony and Tarsha Hamilton, Kelly Price and Ledisi, Bebe and Cece Winans and an animated Fanatasia and Diane Barino Barber.
Red carpet arrivals featuring tastefully toned down ensembles, the most popular color choices being black and beige, and the favorite hairstyle, an asymetrical bob rocked at different lengths by Fantasia, Elise Neal, and Kelly Price as most recently seen on pop princess Rihanna. “Sunday Best”
winner Y’anna Crawley’s ensemble stole the spotlight for the carpet’s edgiest outfit with her spiked, studded trend footwear. Stephen Hill was spotted walking the carpet in jeans and black taking pictures with the evening’s talent, perhaps opting for comfort in his role as exec producer.
The behind the scenes goings on and pictures are available online, and all the acts from the 10th Anniversary “Celebration of Gospel” can be witnessed January 10th on BET.