For Immediate Release
September 10, 2018
Contact Information

Chelsye J. Burrows


The Special Tribute to the Queen of Soul will Feature Gospel Music Performances by Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Holliday, Regina Belle, Kathy Taylor, Richard Smallwood and More set for Monday, September 10, 2018 at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall


(Black PR Wire) HOUSTON, TX – The Gospel Music Heritage Month Foundation is proud to announce its tenth "Evolution of Gospel," which commemorates the month of September as Gospel Music Heritage Month (GMHM).  The annual celebration will pay tribute to the life and legacy of singer, songwriter, actress, pianist and gospel music icon Aretha Franklin. The “Evolution of Gospel” will be held on Monday, September 10, 2018 at 7 p.m. ET at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. Interested persons can obtain tickets by calling 202.467.4600 or 800.444.1324.

This year’s Gospel Music Heritage Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented posthumously to Aretha Franklin. 

The awards event will be hosted by Grammy® Award-winning gospel music singer and television host Dr. Bobby Jones.  The program will include musical tributes by some of the most anointed gospel vocalists and choirs, including, Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Holliday, Regina Belle, Kathy Taylor, Richard Smallwood, Patrick Lundy & The Ministers of Music, Samantha McElhaney John and Ricky Dillard and Ebenezer A.M.E. Church Choir.  The event is produced by Ernest Walker of Walker Entertainment Group.

Carl Davis, chairman of the Gospel Music Heritage Month Foundation stated, “This year we will pay homage to the undisputed and amazing “Queen of Soul” Ms. Aretha Franklin as we celebrate her incredible life on her journey from the church house to the White House.” Aretha Franklin music touched the world.

In 2008, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) introduced historic resolution, H.J. Res. 90 which established September as Gospel Music Heritage Month across the nation.  Advocates joining Congresswoman Lee in support of the recognition were gospel music advocate Carl Davis; With additional support from Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), the bipartisan passage of the bill helped to usher in a new national focus to honor gospel music for its valuable and longstanding contributions to the culture of the United States.  Subsequently Congresswoman Lee led the effort with Carl Davis to create the Gospel Music Heritage Month Foundation that celebrates gospel music annually and honors the music as a national treasure. 

The “Evolution of Gospel” is sponsored by Southwest Airlines and Walker Entertainment Group.

Previous distinguished honorees of the “Evolution of Gospel” acknowledged for their major contribution to the legacy of gospel music, include gospel icons and trailblazers: Donnie McClurkin, Edwin Hawkins, Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Rev. Shirley Caesar, Rev. Andraé Crouch (posthumously) and Richard Smallwood; Grammy® Award-winning gospel artists Kirk Franklin and Yolanda Adams; philanthropist and Kennedy Center Trustee Reginald Van Lee, civil rights pioneer Rev. Jesse Jackson; Senator Blanch Lincoln (D-AR); Chairperson and Founder of Radio One Cathy Hughes; President and Founder of UP TV Charley Humbard; Chairman and CEO of Central City Productions and producer of the Stellar Awards Don Jackson; Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus; NAACP Chairman Emeritus Roslyn McAlister Brock, Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), who was honored in conjunction with the Foundation’s salute to the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington; and, CEO of Capital Christian Music Group Bill Hearn.

Follow the Foundation and honorees at:

About Gospel Music Heritage Month

Gospel Music Heritage Month was created by Congressional resolution in 2008 to celebrate and educate people about the rich history of gospel music. GMHM honors a true American art form for its vast contributions to our culture, bringing a message of hope and inspiration to people of all racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds. People are encouraged to celebrate Gospel Music Heritage Month by attending concerts, events, watching and listening to gospel music, learning and reading about gospel music and more.

About Gospel Music Heritage Month Foundation

The Foundation was established to celebrate and educate people everywhere about the rich heritage of the gospel music genre through word and song by gospel music advocate Carl Davis.  In 2008, Congresswoman Jackson Lee and Senator Lincoln led the passing of a resolution in both chambers declaring September as “Gospel Music Heritage Month.” In each year since its establishment, both local and global celebrations have been held to educate and entertain diverse audiences about the rich history and legacy of gospel music.

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