11 years on, the Crown Gospel Awards celebrate the best selling music genre
Since its inception 11 years ago, the Crown Gospel Awards has become the African continent's premier gospel music awards ceremony.
Founded by Zanele Mbokazi's World Gospel Powerhouse, the awards have grown to become a major event on the entertainment calendar, celebrating some of the best voices in the music industry.
It came at a time when many were not giving gospel music, which is the best selling genre in South Africa, its due in the entertainment industry. Sure, legends like Rebecca Malope, Benjamin Dube, the late Vuyo Mokoena and Joyous Celebration were being celebrated, but other gospel artists were not being given the platform that they deserved.
The music wasn't played as much, and at award's shows like the South African Music Awards and the Metro FM Music Awards, gospel musicians were relegated to singing in the middle of the show or during the in memoriam segment of the ceremonies.
In an interesting move, the Crowns were very quick to embrace the so-called secular music- pop, rap, rock, dance and R&B gospel. It is what has made them even more relevant over the years and has seen young artists who perform contemporary gospel music, like Khaya Mthethwa, Dr Tumi, Mawat and We Will Worship being nominated and win major awards.
It's clear that the producers of the awards have made it a priority to be innovative, keep the ear on the ground and evolve.
"The Crowns have been growing from strength to strength and they have grown from just a few categories into 33 categories. By introducing new sub-genres like gospel hip-hop, gospel maskandi, gospel R&B and gospel poetry, we have stayed relevant," Zanele LaMbokazi- Nkambule said.
The awards will be taking place in Durban on Sunday and will be broadcast on SABC2 from 8pm. They will be hosted by Lawrence Maleka and Pearl Modiadie.
@iol_lifestyle will be Live Tweeting the awards on Sunday. Follow us to see what the gospel stars will be wearing on the red carpet.