McClurkin, a Grammy Award-winning Gospel artist was one of several celebs who recently attended the Gospel Goes to Hollywood Awards Luncheon. An event that honors spiritual players in the entertainment industry, this year's honorees included gospel powerhouse Tamela and David Mann, TV producer Bentley Kyle Evans, stuntman Matt Sigloch and Lou Gossett Jr., the award-winning actor and social activist.
"God is using Hollywood to bring the Gospel and this is a much-needed event," said McClurkin who served as host of the annual event which is now in its 3rd year. "All our honorees bring their faith to their work."
Last year, honorees included Sheryl Lee Ralph an activist and a Broadway veteran who originated the role of Deena Jones in "Dreamgirls," actor Terry Crews and DeVon Franklin, a preacher and a Hollywood film executive at Columbia Pictures who is also the author of the book Produced by Faith.
Celebrating their stories of faith in Hollywood, Sigloch, Evans and Gossett, an Academy Award winner who earned an Oscar in 1983 for the film "An Officer and a Gentleman," shared stories of their arduous journey to achieving success in Hollywood including the many hurdles they had to cross and how they relied on their faith.
Bentley, a television producer and content creator who has credits on over 300 television episodes from "Martin," "The Jamie Foxx Show" to "Love That Girl!" and is responsible for launching the careers of several celebrities from Jamie Foxx to Martin Lawrence was honored with the Trailblazer Award for his numerous accomplishments.
"I have to thank God first for this honor. My publicist Suzanne Summerville contacted me and said they want to honor me at the Gospel Goes to Hollywood luncheon." Evans told Gospel Herald. "I come every year and so when I found out they were going to honor me, I was floored and humbled beyond belief. It really is a blessing and I pray there will be many more."
The Living Legend Award went to Gossett who became a Christian a few years ago, and has played roles in a number of faith-based films. The actor shared with crowd how his faith helped him through a difficult battle with cancer and received a standing ovation. Gossett was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early 2010, but after a series of radiation treatments is now cancer-free.
"When you have a bout with death, you get a new outlook on life and it's quite spiritual. That's when the faith you have in God gets stronger. I had to go through all of that in order to have this faith, but I had it all along. It's just stronger now."
Produced by Tomeka Holyfield, Gospel Goes to Hollywood started three years ago as a platform to celebrate and honor entertainment professionals in Hollywood.
"The idea was to produce an Inspirational awards luncheon that celebrates the untold stories of faith during awards season. A time when everyone is reflecting on all their hard work and the faith it took to get them there. I wanted to recognize and celebrate them and at the same time raise awareness and funds in support of the fight against domestic violence," says Holyfield who donated a portion of the proceeds from the event to The Helping Hands Foundation, an agency dedicated to assist abused and battered women.
"An event like this is very important as we have to empower one another and nothing does that than lifting the spirit," author Mikki Taylor and Essence Magazine's Editor-at-Large also told Gospel Herald.
Other guests at the event included Vanessa Bell-Calloway, Kenny Lattimore, Lalia Odom, Pastor Avery Austin of the Total Deliverance Church, Marvin Winans Jr., director Matty Rich, producer Phil Morris, Maia Campbell and Wendell James.
With performances by Kelly Price, Jessica Reedy and the gospel group The Showers, a group of ten siblings from Louisiana, who have been compared to The Winans, festivities began with a high-powered-red-carpet, a prayer and a pre-reception at the historic Taglyan Complex in Hollywood.