Thursday, October 29, 2009

Stellar Award Nominees, Controversy

Announced on Thursday during a press conference in Nashville, TN, Don Jackson of Central City Productions delivered the list of nominees for the 25th Annual Stellar (Gospel Music) Awards.

Among the chief of nominees, a number of independent artists including Vickie Winans, Phillip Carter & SOV and Malcolm Williams & Great Faith head the list of multiple mentions. Artists including Donald Lawrence & Co., Paul Morton, Israel Houghton, Mary Mary, Kierra Sheard and Hezekiah Walker top the list for most mentions from mainstream talent.

Axed from the final ballot and set of nominees were Coko, James Fortune & FIYA, Sheri Jones-Moffett, 21:03 and Melinda Watts.

Word has already leaked of the possibility of paid-for-play or behind-the-scenes payola as being the the reasons behind so many multiple mentions from independent artists in the category. The biggest observation coming from upset Stellar supporters stems around Vickie Winans' super list of nominations - coming from an album that bearly met the deadline for an album release date according to SAGMA (Stellar Academy) guidelines.

According to the Stellar award web site, nominees for the 25th annual Stellar Awards must be released in between the dates of July 1, 2008 and August 31, 2009. Winans' album How I Got Over was released to stores on August 25, 2009. The album made the deadline, but gospel lovers are concerned if foul play is at fault.

Jawn Murray, popular celeb journalist and Tom Joyner's gossip resource, started a Twitterbot called #YouKnowYouMadeTheStellarsBallot. One of the most hilarious comments he posted on his Twitter page mentioned "you know you made the Stellars' ballot if your CD has never appeared on the Billboard Gospel charts."

The jokes, coming from a large source of gospel artists and industry vets, made the Twitter bot a popular destination. Some of the most popular jokes posted included:
"You know you made the Stellars' ballot if you didn't know you was nominated," "You know you made the Stellars' ballot if you and your label buy up all the units" and "You know you made the Stellars' ballot if you spent your entire budget on SAGMA memberships."

Indeed, the controversy continues.

Stellar Awards [Official Website]
25th Annual Stellar Awards; Full List of Nominees []

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