17th Annual All-Star Gospel Celebration Sets the Stage for NBA All-Star Weekend

Mike and Kyra Epps, four-time NBA Champion Andre Iguodala, Indiana Pacers forward-center Oscar Tshiebwe, and more honored
Photos courtesy of all-star gospel celebration
Photos courtesy of All-Star Gospel Celebration

Celebrities and award-winning recording artists contributed to the success of the 17th annual All-Star Gospel Celebration (ASGC) during NBA All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, IN. The historical Madam CJ Walker Legacy Center set the stage for the Harlem Renaissance and #Selfmade themes celebrating four-time NBA Champion Andre Iguodala and his mom, Linda Shanklin, Indiana Pacers forward-center Oscar Tshiebwe, Indy’s own real estate mogul and VP/National Basketball Wives Association, Tomi Rose, and actor and comedian Mike Epps and Image Award-winning TV Producer and Executive Producer of HGTV’s “Buying Back the Block” Kyra Epps who received special awards.

Created and executive produced by Tomeka B Holyfield, the event highlighted the work and dedication of some of NBA’s self-made legends and Indianapolis’ hometown heroes. It also paid homage to Madam CJ Walker, who made significant contributions to the African-American community and became the first self-made female millionaire in the United States.

L to r - kelotae gavin, koryn hawthorne, olivia west (red carpet correspondent) and dante bowe
L To R – Kelotae Gavin, Koryn Hawthorne, Olivia West (Red Carpet Correspondent) And Dante Bowe

In its seventeenth year, Holyfield’s All-Star Gospel Celebration continues to kick off the weekend of festivities during NBA All-Star Weekend. ASGC has become the flagship production within the HAG-Helpppp Agency Group portfolio, which provides one-of-a-kind platforms of Inspirational stories. 

“Hosting the kickoff at the Madam Walker Legacy Center was the perfect way to pay homage to Madam CJ Walker, the first female self-made millionaire, and the rich history of the City of Indianapolis,” said Holyfield. “What better way to kick off the week than with inspirational stories that highlighted people who have faced insurmountable circumstances, survived, and continue to give back.”

Known as the official gospel event during NBA All-Star week, NBA veteran and former National Basketball Players Association VP Maurice “Mo” Evans alongside three-time NBA All-Star Jacinda Jacobs, hosted the star-studded affair where the intersection of entertainment and inspiration provided a platform for people to freely profess their love for Jesus Christ.

In a heartfelt acceptance speech, attendees saw Mike Epps in a different light. “God is using me and my wife as vessels for the community and for other young people in the world as an example.” He credited his wife for making him a better person and explained that he’s always had faith in God. “I don’t like to prove to people that I’m in tuned with God…I talk to God in my time and I thank Him for holding me down though my journey.” His thought-provoking comment at the end of his acceptance speech left the audience applauding, “…Stay imperfect. Stay under construction, and give God room to keep working on you.”

Front row l to r - tomeka b holyfield, mike epps, kyra epps, tomi rose
Front Row L To R – Tomeka B Holyfield, Mike Epps, Kyra Epps, Tomi Rose

The Epps’ were recognized for their efforts in effecting change and improving their communities. They have purchased several homes on Mike’s childhood block in Indianapolis, and continue to revitalize the struggling neighborhood and bring back the charm, community, and character that Mike valued growing up.  

Other notable community leaders and hometown heroes recognized included Leslie Bailey, Founder & CEO of Indy Maven, Angelia Stone, Publisher & Founder of Hope Magazine, and Isaac & Cynthia Wilson of Kountry Kitchen Soul Food.

The line-up of incredible artists included Grammy® award-winning artist Dante Bowe, Dove-nominated artist Kelontae Gavin, Billboard Music Award artist Koryn Hawthorne, and Stellar Award-winning artist gospel saxophonist Angella Christie.

A new element was added to the event which honored ABA players who played in the league between 1967 to 1976 that included Darnell Hillman, Robert “Slick” Leonard, Roger Brown, George McGinnis, and Mel Daniels.

Holyfield was intentional in including local talent. “I wanted to show a true reflection of the local community’s identity, and foster a sense of pride and ownership among the residents.” This year, Olivia West, Indy’s in-game MC joined the red carpet host, Dru Evans, who is also the National Basketball Wives Association Committee Chair for the NBA and WNBA, as the red-carpet correspondent.

Proceeds from the event will benefit domestic violence victims, and underprivileged children, and aid in breast cancer awareness and the fight for sickle-cell through the “BE THE MATCH” movement through The HELPPPPing Hands Foundation. 501(c)3.

About ASGC

For 17 years, a female-Black-owned production company has produced All-Star Gospel Celebration during a male-dominated sports weekend. Executive Producer, Tomeka B Holyfield, has taken pride in producing an epic and nationally known event for sixteen years. It has become the must-attend event during the NBA All-Star weekend. For more information, please visit www.allstargospelcelebration.com.

Osafo Daniel
Osafo is the Co-Founder of Gospel Chapter. Beyond his editorial role he does PR, Digital Marketing, Web Development and SEO

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