The ceremony will feature numerous entertainers including gospel great Darius Brooks; classical violinist Rachel Barton Pine; reggaeton Guayacol Y Ale Nova; R&B rising stars P. Coakley, Lil Mann, and Trey D.; internationally known spoken-word artist Malik Yusef, featuring Red Storm; reggae star Indika Band, featuring Bunny Jackson and Hugh Roy; jazz songbird Tammy McCann; rock stars Saturn Project; and female Latin star Nythia Riveria. Special guest performances by the all-female Jazz band KCR Ensemble; winner of "Chi-town Idol" Lawrence Brown; Lov’Andre and others.
The special recipients for Lifetime Awards are: gospel legend Delores Washington of the Caravans; jazz icon Fred Anderson; historic black film maker Ronn Pitts; veteran radio disc jockeys Richard Pegue, Dick Biondi and Clark Weber. Special recipients for Award of Honor are: Chicago Gospel Festival coordinator/radio host Pam Morris; Oprah Winfrey XM radio producer, writer and radio host Mark Ruffin; rock/country producer and singer Kevin Chalfant; veteran radio jockey Robert (Bob) Stroud; and from Ethiopia, veteran African/reggae entertainer Zeleke Gessesse, who in the last three years helped build schools in Ethiopia for thousands of children.
Topping the list of nominees, gospel superstar Darius Brooks & JMG, nominated for Best Gospel Entertainer, Best Gospel CD/Album “My Soul” and “The Reunion” with former members of the Thompson Community Singers and also Songwriter of the Year, Most Outstanding Band/Group, Record Label of the Year, and from his JMG label Best New Entertainer. Other top nominees include: Jennifer Hudson, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Buddy Guy, the Caravans, Umphrey’s McGee, Marty Casey & Lovehammers, Funkadesi, Malcolm Williams & the Voices of Great Faith, Danki Man, Ricky Luis, and Marshal Thompson & the Chi-Lites.