ATLANTA, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The directive – in the form of emails, text messages and word of mouth – was urgent: to spread the word about a live recording of the gospel music industry's biggest stars in response to the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the already poverty-stricken nation of Haiti, impacting an estimated three million people with a death toll some say could top 100,000.
It came from one of the most popular artists in contemporary gospel music today - Kirk Franklin - who was moved to act while watching the horrific images broadcast on CNN Wednesday night January 13 from his hotel in Nashville. The next night he took the stage of an already planned prayer service of gospel industry professionals and insiders to make an impassioned personal plea to his fellow artists: to take part in the recording of "Are You Listening: A Love Song for Haiti" to raise funds to help those in Haiti so desperately in need.
"We see these people as God's children," Franklin said. "We want to do our part, and I just want people to know that the gospel community can respond to a powerful natural disaster."
The response was overwhelming for what Franklin had dubbed as the gospel community's answer to "We Are the World," with more than 150 participants swiftly joining the cause. BeBe & CeCe Winans, Yolanda Adams, Marvin Sapp, Natalie Grant, Donnie McClurkin, Mary Mary, Shirley Caesar, Jeremy Camp, Marvin Winans, J. Moss, Smokie Norful, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Karen Clark-Sheard, Kiki Sheard, Donald Lawrence, Bishop Paul Morton, Micah Stampley and James Fortune would participate in an important endeavor in addition to the one that brought them to Music City, the 2010 taping of the 25th Annual Stellar Awards.
Franklin contacted Don Jackson, executive producer of The Stellar Awards, to request that the Gospel Music Channel (http://www.gospelmusicchannel.com) television network, which is premiering The Stellar Awards on Feb. 28, send cameras and crews to capture the historic recording event. GMC did so and is producing the official music video for "Are You Listening: A Love Song for Haiti" which will world premiere in a one hour special presentation on GMC Friday, Jan. 22 at 7:00 p.m. (ET), immediately before GMC's airing of the global "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon (8:00 p.m.). The commercial-free special will be hosted by Lisa Kimmey-Winans and will feature exclusive interview footage with Kirk Franklin from the recording session interspersed throughout multiple runs of the music video. GMC will encore the special on Saturday, Jan. 23 at 6:00 p.m. (ET). The music video will then go into heavy rotation in all GMC music video blocks. GMC will also produce and premiere an exclusive "A Love Song for Haiti: The Making of 'Are You Listening'" behind-the-scenes special in February.
Franklin said, "It's a song God gave me after 9-11, but by the time I finished it the timing had passed and I was just never able to marry it to anything. But as I watched what was going on in Haiti, the Lord brought it to my attention that it would be perfect. We recorded it as quickly as we could so that we could get it to radio and other outlets with all of the proceeds going to the people of Haiti."
CeCe Winans believes it's only fitting that gospel artists lead the way. "That's what gospel is about..." Winans said, "Loving people and being the extended hands of God."
GMC (http://www.gospelmusicchannel.com) can be seen in 46 million homes on various cable systems around the country, on DIRECTV on channel 338 and on Verizon FiOS on channel 224.