2020-10-01
(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 "Jesus Walks." 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 Chapman Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album: "Worship & Faith" by Randy Travis 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 Norful Best Gospel Choir or Chorus Album: "Live ... This Is Your House" by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

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