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Yolanda, Hezekiah, Patti, Tye Shine at Super Bowl Gospel Celebration
A Super Heavenly Kickoff
By Shamerra T. Brown
Quite a lovely evening it was. The stars were shining brightly in Miami — with their affection
aimed toward the greatest light. The 2007 Super Bowl Gospel Celebration brought together
entertainers, athletes and gospel artists for “An Evening of Inspiration” recently.
Yolanda Adams, Hezekiah Walker, Tye Tribbett, Jaci Velasquez, J Moss, and Ms. Patti LaBelle
were among those who came out to share their gifts of song. They had mucho grande support
from other notables who divided their time between watching from the audience and mingling
backstage. Several NFL players were also on hand to represent Jesus Christ. Pre-Super Bowl
XLI champ, Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy even stopped by to show his love.
Faith, Football and Fellowship
Amid what is by far the biggest sports event of the year, there emerged a joyful noise.
Christians from all backgrounds shouted from the audience as show co-host Ambassador Dr.
Bobby Jones — who recently moved to South Florida — announced a denomination roll call.
Comedian/actor Cedric the Entertainer also served up some hearty laughs as Jones’ co-host.
He couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the legendary weekend.
“I was raised in a church environment. I definitely believe that God and Christ are guiding my
life. Whenever you choose a career path, especially one like [mine] you can’t really control
your destiny without having true belief and faith in God. He leads you in the right direction,” the
comedian/actor said minutes before the show. “I trust His spirit and I think [He] led me to be in a
position that would allow me to be invited as a host to an event of this magnitude … And I want
to hear some good singing myself, and see some of these suits people have on!”
The League and Jesus
Although it was the eighth annual concert featuring faith-based music during the Super Bowl,
this was the first year that the league sanctioned the celebration as an official NFL event. The
concept for the music festival was borne from Christian NFL players who had a longing to
include a family-oriented element in the traditionally party-filled weekend. Buzz was created,
organizers got busy, and eight years later the concert, ranked by USA Today as one of the
year’s top three "must-see events," is still going strong.
“There would be no NFL for me if it weren’t for God. I’m not churchy but I love relationship and
God is all about relationship. My church [can be] in my truck when I’m meditating. ... At the end
of the day, if my mama, wife or daddy [all] leave me, I have a relationship with God. My whole
life is about my relationship with God, [so] I connect with the music. … If I can’t get in touch with
my pastor, I have to fall on my face before God. I’m going to die by myself and have to answer
to Him by myself,” Carolina Panthers’ Michael Gaines explained.
Gaines, who is also a minister, joined Yolanda Adams, Cedric The Entertainer, NFL players
Willie Whitehead and Roland Williams, and event-producer Melanie Few in a press conference
shortly before the show began.
Although she donned flawless diamonds worth about a quarter of a million dollars — courtesy
of event cosponsor Sam’s Club’s exclusive line of jewelry — Adams remained clear and
focused about one of the main purposes for the evening. She shed light on a positive
perspective of athletes; a pleasant departure from what is typically featured in the media.
“It’s definitely important to allow the players and their wives with their families to have another
outlet that expresses their faith where they can enjoy themselves, hear good music, laugh, cry,
maybe even dance a little,” the statuesque princess of gospel music told MS. “Over 70 percent
of [NFL] players are Christians and they are men of faith. They’re light in the NFL, and light in
While waiting patiently for her duet with Ms. LaBelle (who of course brought down the house
with songs from her album, The Gospel According to Patti), Adams shared with us a few ideas
about what she really wanted to do with those stunning jewels, which included a canary
diamond, princess-cut ring. But that’s another story for another day.
We also caught up with super producer-turned-artist, J Moss, who was elated when the NFL
made official, the faith he’s expressed and known all of his life.
“As messengers we have to make sure we’re serving and representing the body [of Christ]
right so that when the cameras are on and everybody comes to see, we’re representing Jesus
properly. It’s not so much that it’s the ‘NFL,’ as it is the responsibility on my shoulder to carry
and deliver ministry to its fullest and to make sure that the impression given is the right one,”
he said seconds before he was whisked away to prepare for his energetic performance.
While Yolanda and I watched his set from the monitor, she played mother hen to Moss’
background dancers who were watching with us and almost missed their queue to enter the
stage. It’s no wonder they were distracted — we were all mesmerized by Moss’ charismatic
presentation. Moss’ sophomore project, V2 is due out in April.
Tye Tribbett’s wife, Shanté, was all smiles as she gave us the scoop on their growing family.
She kept her phone nearby, constantly checking on their adorable daughters, Austyn Taylor,
4, and Lyncoln Victoria, 8 months. Tye, very much a family man, is featured on The Bible
Experience — an audio version of the Bible, articulated by well-known Christians and created
by Zondervan Publishing House (the company also cosponsored the event).
Between acts, Dr. Jones and Cedric kept the crowd pumped with giveaways, laughter and
words of inspiration. The concert also served as a fundraiser for the upcoming Dr. Bobby
Jones Gospel Complex for Education, Heritage and Preservation — a museum in Fort
Lauderdale, Fla. which will house historic moments and artists in gospel music.
Jones splits his time between his Nashville home and what he calls a “fabulous” condo in Fort
Lauderdale. “When I first came to Florida I loved it and I [still] don’t want to leave.” He was
elated that “gospel music finally has a home.”
It was indeed a night to remember. Special thanks to Gerard Henry (host of BET’s Lift Every
Voice!) for jumping in what was supposed to be my “exclusive” snapshot with Dr. Jones. You
really made the photo — smile!
The “The 8th Annual 2007 Super Bowl Gospel Celebration Presents … An Evening of
Inspiration” was aired on The Gospel Music Channel on Saturday, Feb. 3. Check listings for
Shamerra T. Brown can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Artwork provided courtesy of Natasha Vidal (thanks for filling in as my last-minute
Most appreciation to the Most High — thank you for opening the floodgates!
Sam's Club rep Susan Koehler, event
producer Melanie Few w/ Yolanda Adams
Willie Whitehead of the
New Orleans Saints
Tye Tribbett w/ J Moss
Cedric The Entertainer
Shamerra w/ J Moss
Shanté Tribbett w/ Shamerra
Natasha Vidal (photojournalist) w/ J Moss
Dr. Bobby Jones, Shamerra and Bro. Gerard
Tye Tribbett and Greater Anointing
Yolanda at the
Lexi (left) from The
Word Network giving
a radio interview.
photos at the
end of the