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Red Carpet event Saturday in Ocean Springs will recognize gospel musicians

Jaimee Dorris
Jaimee Dorris

The Gulf Coast Gospel Music Awards will honor local musicians with a red carpet, paparazzi-flashing entrance and the formal recognition of their peers.

The black-tie awards ceremony will debut Saturday at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center, 1600 Government St., Ocean Springs. The red-carpet entry will be at 2:30 p.m. and the awards ceremony will be at 4 p.m.

Gulfport resident and award-winning gospel artist LeKeisha Cotten is the founder of the event. Raised in Indianola, Cotten’s Delta roots shine through in her vocals. Her first recorded single was the 2005 release “Praise Him Now.”

Cotten’s awards bestowed her with the titles “Voice of the Coast,” “Coast Idol” and “International VIP.”

In 2015, the South Florida Gospel Music Awards nominated her for Female of the Year, Praise & Worship of the Year, and Song of the Year.

Cotten said she wants to bring that type of recognition to Mississippi artists through the Gulf Coast Gospel Music Awards.

“I know so many songwriters and singers and local talent,” she said. “I want to bring that red-carpet, stellar Grammy experience home to the Gulf Coast so people can experience it. I want to bring it home to my folk and my family.”

The 25 artists recognized will receive a trophy, a recording session at the Mary C. O’Keefe’s studio, and one year of access to the services offered by the Gulf Coast Gospel Awards Guild.

The guild consists of 18 members who are in the music business and ministry. They offer everything from professional hair and makeup to spiritual counseling and sound engineering.

Cotten created the Gulf Coast Gospel Music Awards and the guild to encourage others to persist in making beautiful music.

“It’s a celebration of doing wonderful work behind the scenes,” she said. “Years ago, I said if I ever have the opportunity to help someone else I will. Now the time is here. God is calling my bluff on it.”

The artists being honored will include Stan Jones, who lives in the Jackson area but has made his mark far beyond the reaches of Mississippi through writing, engineering and producing. The guest host will be Jamie Doriss, whose web and television series “MS Congeniality,” seeks to debunk Mississippi stereotypes and showcase local talent.

Other recipients are Aavriel Smith, Angela White-Carter, April Smith-Parkman, Bailey Hinton, Aimee Clute, Jonathan Haynes, Jordan Leigh Cook, Karl Anthony Jackson Jr., Nathaniel “Tank” Smith, Pastor Kenyatta Braxton, Sonny “Boy” Boose, Tabari Daniels, Tarissa Brown, Tawinika McKoy, Tenishia Tousssaint, The Smith Family, Whitney Nichols and more . . .

Admission is $20 for ages 13 and older and $10 for ages 3-12. Tickets are available at the Mary C and online at www.GCGMA.com.

The Gulf Coast Gospel Music Awards

Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center, 1600 Government St., Ocean Springs.

Red-carpet entry will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and the awards ceremony will be at 4 p.m.

Admission is $20 for ages 13 and older and $10 for ages 3-12. Tickets are available at the Mary C and online at www.GCGMA.com.

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