Chicago's Stellar Award Winners and Nominees Celebrated

Sunday, 06 May 2012 19:05 Written by  Cicely V. Teal

The spirit of Gospel music transforms the lives of millions through its faith filled melodies and lyrics. More than a handful of Gospel greats have risen from the city of Chicago, artists such as Mahalia Jackson, the Staples Singers, Albertina Walker and Darius Brooks to name a few. As the old principal of the church goes, the “oil has been passed” and there is a new crop of young, contemporary gospel artists making their mark in the gospel industry.

Inspiration 1390 honored all the 2012 Chicago Stellar nominees and winners during the Chicago Stellar Awards Salute held at Christ Universal Temple (CUT) on the city's far South side. The Chicago Mass Choir was honored along with Vashwan Mitchell, Shekinah Glory Ministries, Todd Dulaney and a host of others. The event was hosted by Inspiration 1390's own Pastor John Hannah, Effie Rolfe and Sonya Blakey.

Head of Christ Universal Temple, Rev. Derrick B. Wells (pictured to the left), believes that music can reach people just as the principals of the bible can.

“We are happy to host the Stellar Awards event. Music plays the stronghold in ministry. Melody can go where the spoken word can’t [and] it has the ability to turn minds and hearts to God and to the spirit,” Rev. Wells explained.

Don Jackson, creator and founder of the Stellar Gospel Music Awards, is a longstanding member of Christ University Temple and according to Rev. Wells, much of Jackson’s inspiration came from ministries at the church.

“The birth of the Stellars began with Dream series at CUT so it is natural for us to be a part of the Stellar celebrations here in Chicago,” he says.

Rev. Wells recognizes the power and influence music can have over young people and as a pastor leading a non-traditional and innovative ministry, he knows it’s the leading and not just the preaching.

“When young people see other younger people it helps to lead them to the church. It helps to see somebody doing something you aspire to do. People like Jay-Z and Puffy [Sean Combs] are inspirational not because of what they do but what they represent,” Rev. Wells explains.

Cicely V. Teal

Cicely V. Teal

Cicely V. Teal graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a B.A. in Communication and Depaul Univeristy with a M.A in Journalism. She contributed to and maintained a column at N’Digo Magapaper, and wrote for Urban Influence Magazine, Breaking Tweets, The DePaulia and The Independent. She also worked on documentary projects at WTTW channel 11, children’s television programming at WCIU-TV and African American programming at Central City Productions.

She is a blogger and studies web analytics, social networking strategies and integrated marketing at the University of Chicago.

She can be contacted at