Easter May Be Over, But You Can Still Go Forward In Faith On BET Networks With
"CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL" Followed By New Docu-Drama Series, "THE SHEARDS" This
Sunday, April 7th
Donnie McClurkin, Anita Baker, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Tyrese Gibson, Yolanda
Adams, Tamar Braxton, Israel Houghton with Jason Nelson, Jonathan Butler & New
Breed, Viola Davis and More Perform on the "CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL" with Host
Steve Harvey at 8:00 P.M., ET/PT
Multi-Generational Gospel Super Star Sheard Family Navigates Faith and Family
in a Modern World in a New Docu-Drama "THE SHEARDS" at 10:00 P.M. ET/PT
LOS ANGELES, April 1, 2013
LOS ANGELES, April 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --BET Networks will take the spirit
to new heights on Sunday, April 7 at 8:00 p.m.* with the premiere of
CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL followed by THE SHEARDS. Taped at the Orpheum Theater in
Los Angeles and hosted by comedian and Steve Harvey, CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL is
filled with uplifting performances, powerful duets and soulful choirs.
Led by the world-renowned musical director Ray Chew and his 24-piece
orchestra, CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL features breathtaking performances and spoken
word segments by both mainstream and gospel greats including singer and actor
Tyrese Gibson and SUNDAY BEST title holder and Grammy® winner Le'Andria
Johnson performing a gospel rendition of the Donny Hathaway ballad "A Song for
You"; Tamar Braxton singing the Walter Hawkins penned classic "Be Grateful,"
and Grammy®-winner Anita Baker making a surprise appearance and joining Donnie
McClurkin to perform her 1987 hit "Ain't No Need to Worry" originally
performed with The Winans.
Additional highlights from the spiritual celebration include Grammy®-award
winner Smokie Norful performing his new song, "Say So" with help from his
nine-year-old son Ashton Norful; Kurt Carr and the Kurt Carr Singers led a
powerful tribute to the Rev. James Cleveland performing "Lord Help Me to Hold
Out"; followed by the original James Cleveland singers performing "Lord Do It"
and "No Ways Tired"; SUNDAY BEST winner Joshua Rogers belted out "Peace Be
Still"; Donnie McClurkin left audience members speechless singing "God Is";
Rance Allen sang "That Will Be Good Enough For Me," and Dr. Bobby Jones
joined in on the tribute finale "Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus." In addition
to musical performances, Oscar® Nominated actress Viola Davis delivered a
beautiful spoken word selection.
Rounding out the Gospel music fest are awe-inspiring performances by Pastor
Shirley Caesar, Yolanda Adams, Tye Tribbett, Tamela Mann, Karen Clark Sheard
and Kierra Sheard, Dorinda Clark Cole, Israel Houghton with Jason Nelson,
Jonathan Butler & New Breed, Anthony Brown & Group Therapy and Charles Jenkins
and Fellowship Chicago featuring Jessica Reedy, Isaac Carree, Da T.R.U.T.H.
and Canton Jones.
BET's CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL is produced by BET Networks: Stephen Hill
(President of Music Programming & Specials), Lynne Harris Taylor (Vice
President, Specials and Music Production) and Geovani Brewer.
FROM THE PULPIT TO THE STUDIO: BET NETWORKS LAUNCHES 'THE SHEARDS'
The new docu-drama profiling the mega-popular Detroit based gospel super star
family THE SHEARDS will debut at 10:00 P.M. ET/PT after the premiere of
CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL. Gospel icon Karen Clark Sheard, part of the legendary
Clark Sisters, her husband Bishop J. Drew, a mega church pastor in the Motor
City and their children, Stellar Award winner and Grammy-nominated gospel
songstress Kierra Sheard and producer J. Drew Sheard, star in the hour long
series. Told through the eyes of Kierra and J. Drew, we will follow them as
they navigate family, friends, and faith in a secular world.
The explosive first season takes us on a drama filled ride as Kierra Sheard
begins to break out of her family's shadow and looks to find more mainstream
success with her own unique voice. Facing the difficulty of choosing between
working with her brother, who she's collaborated with on all her previous
albums, and experimenting with new producers to achieve a new sound, Kierra
also struggles with juggling her new found independence with family, losing
weight and love.
J. Drew is focused on being the next big hit-making secular producer which
goes directly against his family's wishes. Growing up in the church, his great
grandfather, grandfather and father all became bishops. Bishop J. Drew wants
his son to be the next in line to take the pulpit and won't hear otherwise. J.
Drew also has baby mama drama with Shantel, the mother of his two year old
son. She wants to have a relationship with him beyond their son, but J. Drew
wants to enjoy single life and focus solely on co-parenting.
Karen Clark Sheard is balancing being a preacher's wife, gospel superstar and
doting mother, while Bishop J. Drew is preparing to run for a higher office
within his International Church of God in Christ denomination. However the
Bishop's new position could bring even more restrictions on the family unit,
especially as Kierra and J. Drew extend their social circles and look to
branch out beyond the gospel world career wise. Will the children find secular
mainstream success or will the church prevail?
Meet the family
At only 24, Kierra has experienced amazing commercial success in the gospel
world - releasing her own albums and appearing on tracks with her mother and
other gospel music superstars. After recently being recognized with a Stellar
Award for female vocalist of the year and releasing her fifth album, Free,
Kierra is ready to find her own, unique voice. As part of the transformation,
Kierra is dropping her widely used nickname "KiKi" so she can be taken more
seriously in the music world.
J. Drew (22) is on a mission all his own as he wades through his own
transition period. Growing up in the church, his great grandfather,
grandfather and father all became bishops. Now, Bishop Sheard is pushing his
son towards the direction of the church, but J. Drew wants to focus on being
the next big secular hit-making producer. J. Drew is also trying to maintain
a civil relationship with Shantel, the mother of his two year old son, who
wants to have a relationship with him beyond their son.
Karen Clark Sheard
For Karen, it can be difficult being a first lady (a preacher's wife), gospel
superstar and doting mother. Faced with having an empty nest as daughter
Kierra (the last to leave home) searches for her own independence, Karen looks
at her own life and the choices she has made, especially in contrast to her
daughter. Karen is continuing to help guide her children in the right
direction as they branch off into adulthood while reinventing her own career
and keeping the family together.
Bishop J. Drew Sheard
After rising through the church and becoming a Bishop, J. Drew Sr. feels the
weight of the congregation on his shoulders as well as that of his family as
he prepares to run for a higher office within his international Church of God
In Christ denomination. Bishop is unsure of how his family will be received –
J. Drew II has a two year old son out of wedlock, which is considered a big
no-no in the church world, especially for the son of a Bishop.
THE SHEARDS is the newest addition to BET Networks long running list of
successful gospel programing including the hit gospel music competition show
SUNDAY BEST; BOBBY JONES GOSPEL, the longest-running gospel program on cable;
the annual CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL and LIFT EVERY VOICE which feature insightful
testimonies from some of mainstream and gospel's biggest and brightest stars.
Tara Long, Holly Carter, Eric Hoberman, John Morayniss, Donny Johnson and J.
Drew Sheard all serve as executive producers for THE SHEARDS.
* All show times are ET.
For video sneak peeks and first looks of CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL and THE
SHEARDS visit their official pages respectively at BET.com/COG and
BET.com/TheSheards. Viewers can also find series updates on Facebook by liking
the fan pages at facebook.com/TheSheards and facebook.com/COG. Also, join the
conversation about the shows on Twitter by using hashtags: #BETGospel and
#BETTheSheards; follow the show for all updates & special surprises
About BET Networks
BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is the nation's
leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs
television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET
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