(RNS) Religion played a prominent role at the Grammy Awards on Sunday
(Feb. 13), with the late Ray Charles honored in the new gospel performance
category and artist Kanye West winning in the top rap song category for
The show, which aired on CBS from Los Angeles, also included a gospel
segment featuring West, Mavis Staples, John Legend and the Blind Boys of
Alabama. West appeared on the set of a church with stained-glass windows and
ended the segment with the dramatic addition of white-feathered angel's
wings on his back.
Charles posthumously won five awards, including one for gospel
performance for "Heaven Help Us All," a track from the "Genius Loves
Company" album that featured him in a duet with Gladys Knight.
West's winning single was featured on the album "The College Dropout."
Last year that CD was pulled from consideration by the Stellar Gospel Music
Awards because a nominating committee determined its overall selections --
which included lyrics containing profanity -- "were not in the best interest
and spirit of gospel music."
On the day before the ceremony, Staples accepted a Grammy Lifetime
Achievement Award on behalf of the Staples Singers, a gospel and blues group
known for "I'll Take You There."
Other gospel category winners were:
Best Rock Gospel Album: "Wire" by Third Day
Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album: "All Things New" by Steve Curtis
Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album: "Worship & Faith" by
Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album: "There Will Be a Light" by Ben
Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama
Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album: "Nothing Without You" by Smokie
Best Gospel Choir or Chorus Album: "Live ... This Is Your House" by the
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.