The annual Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour gonna hit different in 2020

David Goodson | 9/24/2020, midnight
What happens when you combine the tenets of “One nation under God, indivisible…” with “One nation under a groove, getting ...
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What happens when you combine the tenets of “One nation under God, indivisible…” with “One nation under a groove, getting down just for the funk of it?” The annual Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour. The hopefully unique challenges unearthed in 2020 (a change gonna come) won’t stop the show as the 14th annual Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour will alter its traditional method of trekking from city to city throughout the country. This year’s iteration, benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities, comes in the form of a four-part concert series, themed “Gospel City Playlists,” beginning Sept. 27 and running weekly (every Sunday) through Oct. 18 on BET.com and BET Network’s YouTube channel at 8 p.m. EST / 7 p.m. CST.

This year’s theme will come to life through the virtual showcase of the rich gospel legacies of Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Detroit, reviving the decades-long debate about which major U.S. city produces the greatest gospel music. Legendary and award-winning gospel music artists Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, Fred Hammond, The Clark Sisters, Kierra Sheard, Smokie Norful, William Murphy and many others will sing fan favorites while encouraging viewers to engage in friendly online banter about which city has the greatest gospel hits and artists.

“I’m excited to join this diverse lineup of talented artists who, like me, are proud to carry on the longstanding traditions of gospel music,” said Franklin, an award-winning gospel music icon, choir director, singer, songwriter and author. “McDonald’s is doing amazing work by hosting this top-notch tour for the community through its Black & Positively Golden movement. My fellow artists and I are hoping fans everywhere will be inspired to continue pressing forward during these trying times and be encouraged to give back to families in need through Ronald McDonald House Charities.”

Franklin will be part of the tour for the third time, while renowned singer, songwriter and producer Donald Lawrence will return as tour co-producer and music supervisor. Multiple-award winning artist and syndicated radio host Lonnie Hunter will resume hosting duties.

The full 2020 artist lineup includes: Anita Wilson, Byron Cage, Canton Jones, Donald Lawrence & Company, Fred Hammond, Jekalyn Carr, Jonathan McReynolds, Karen Clark Sheard, Kierra Sheard, Kirk Franklin, Le’Andria Johnson, Marvin Sapp, Myron Butler, Ricky Dillard, Smokie Norful, Tasha Page-Lockhart, The Clark Sisters, Todd Dulaney, VaShawn Mitchell and William Murphy.

“Every year, our Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour is one of the most highly anticipated community events. Recognizing its importance and rich legacy, we are excited to bring the tour to life virtually, which is also allowing us to offer it to a larger audience at a time when these inspiring messages are needed most,” said McDonald’s owner/operator Harry Smith. “As we continue navigating these difficult times, we look forward to bringing people together from across the country through this safe and uplifting virtual concert series.”

In addition to delivering inspiring music to fans nationwide, the concert series will continue to raise funds to support families served by RMHC chapters in each of the four cities. People are encouraged to visit http://www.rmhc.org/ICGT2020 now through Oct.18 to donate to the charity’s local chapters.

Another first, the tour will feature a virtual pre-show red carpet lounge hosted by social media comedian, Not Karlton Banks. Fans are invited to view the virtual red-carpet lounge via Karlton’s Instagram Live approximately 20 minutes prior to each concert to hear from their favorite performers.

This signature concert series will represent gospel music playlists from each highlighted city on the following days: Sept. 27—Chicago; Oct. 4—Detroit; Oct. 11—Atlanta; Oct. 18—Dallas.

McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour is an extension of the company’s Black & Positively Golden campaign, an initiative designed to uplift communities and inspire excellence. Visit www.blackandpositivelygolden.com to learn more. Follow @WeAreGolden on Instagram for tour updates and join the conversation using #blackandpositivelygolden.

Think for four Sundays we can let go and let GOD? Let’s surprise ourselves. Over and out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.