Gospel Spotlight : Sterling success ... inaugural gospel awards show a hit
Last weekend, the inaugural Sterling Gospel Music Awards took place at The Heritage Hall in Mandeville.
Basillia Barnaby-Cuff, conceptualiser and organiser, told THE WEEKEND STAR that though kept intimate through an invitation only system, the event was a rousing success.
"The awards were simply amazing. We had over 100 people there. We wanted to keep it small for the first staging. I wanted to keep it small and intimate as a gospel music industry family given that it was the first one. So we achieved that," Barnaby-Cuff said.
"It was a black and white affair. We kept it elegant. People enjoyed it, because they've never experienced something like this before at a gospel event. The red carpet was fabulous, because persons in gospel aren't used to that kind of thing. God really showed up. When I was blessed with the vision to do it, God said do it world class," she said.
The night's biggest winner was powerhouse vocalist Kevin Downswell, who went home with awards for Album of the Year All The Way Male Artiste of the Year, Collab of the Year for Not Afraid featuring Rondell Positive and Local Hit of the Year for Goodbye World.
Shifted the atmosphere
Popular Jamaican comedian Ian 'Ity' Ellis took the stage with a hilarious set.
"He ended with describing God using scriptures, and that totally shifted the atmosphere. It was amazing, the whole place erupted in worship," said Barnaby-Cuff.
Female Artiste of the Year, Kimola Brown-Lowe, closed the event with a power-packed, Holy Ghost-filled delivery of ministry.
Media personality Nadine Blair was named as an icon in the gospel music industry, an accolade that caught her completely by surprise.
"She was surprised. She didn't know about it at all. She thought she was just coming to hand out an award. We revealed the honouring of her via video on a big screen, and of course, she cried," Barnaby-Cuff told THE WEEKEND STAR.
Barnaby-Cuff said that she has already begun preparations for the 2018 staging of the Sterling Gospel Music Awards. The plan for next year is geared towards including gospel music fans.
"We plan to maintain the black and white formal, elegant theme, and we plan to open it up to the public. We also plan to keep it in Mandeville for now," she said.