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Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), the global leader in music rights management, brought legends and contemporary stars together to celebrate the careers of gospel giants Edwin Hawkins, Lady Tramaine Hawkins, and Kurt Carr at its 14th annual Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards Luncheon today in Nashville.

 In addition, the event, held at Rocketown, also recognized BMI’s Most-Performed Gospel Song of the Year: Kirk Franklin’s “I Smile.” The song, pulled from the gold-certified album Hello Fear, topped gospel charts and achieved historic crossover success while amassing more than 500,000 performances. To help celebrate this astounding achievement, The Walls Group surprised the audience with a memorable performance of the song Franklin co-penned.

CeCe Winans and Donnie McClurkin hosted the luncheon, along with Del Bryant, BMI President & CEO, and Catherine Brewton, BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations.

 Musical tributes began with an awe-inspiring nod to Kurt Carr featuring the Donald Lawrence & Co. singers, Lisa Knowles, Sheri Jones-Moffett, and Amber Bullock.  The charismatic songs of Edwin Hawkins were then celebrated with dynamic performances by Pastor Shirley Ceasar, Bishop Paul Morton, LaShun Pace, Kierra Sheard, Jason Nelson and Jonathan Nelson. Finally, an all-star collection of artists, including Anaysha Figueroa, Le’ Andria Johnson, VaShawn Mitchell and Yolanda Adams, performed a rousing tribute to Lady Tramaine Hawkins, which served as the event’s triumphant finale.

BMI Honors Edwin Hawkins, Lady Tramaine Hawkins, and Kurt Carr  was originally published on