Heart & Soul: Celebrating African American Music Appreciation Month

Monday, June 24, 2019

CHICAGO (WLS) -- ABC 7's "Heart & Soul," a series that taps into Chicago's vibrant African American community, celebrates African American Music Appreciation Month and the Chicago Gospel Festival.

The special is hosted by Cheryl Burton and Hosea Sanders, along with Terrell Brown, and shares the fascinating history of gospel music in Chicago. It also takes a look back at the historic Pilgrim Baptist Church that was almost completely destroyed in a fire and reveals plans for the National Gospel Museum.

The special also captures an incredible night of gospel music at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Soul-stirring performances by Maranda Curtis singing "Nobody like You Lord" and Anthony Brown's "Blessings on Blessings" are spotlighted. Acclaimed singer, songwriter producer, and gospel musician Pastor Charles Jenkins, who recently announced his retirement from Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, will also share his story and love of gospel music. And Cheryl Burton sits down with gospel superstar Kirk Franklin. Franklin, who has won 14 Grammy Awards and whose credits include gospel musician, songwriter, choir director, and is also known for leading urban contemporary gospel choirs.

WATCH: Heart & Soul, Part 1

History of Gospel Music

In the early 1930's, Chicago became the birthplace of gospel music. As the grandchild of Lena McLin and the great, great nephew of Thomas A. Dorsey, composer and pianist William Kurk's gospel lineage runs deep. Kurk and the legendary Barrett Sisters give us a look back at how these inspirational and spiritual hymns were born.

Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church

For nearly 70 years, hundreds of thousands of church members have been attending services at Missional Baptist Church. The church's founder, Reverend Clay Evans, and Pastor Charles Jenkins reflect on their time growing the congregation and share future plans.

Fellowship Chicago

45th & Princeton

Chicago Il. 60609


WATCH: Heart & Soul, Part 2

Stellar Awards

Chairman and CEO of Central City Productions, Don Jackson, brings a gospel celebration to our city every year by putting on the annual Chicago Gospel Music Festival. Jackson also wanted to honor the genre and its musicians in another way, so he created the Stellar Awards.

WATCH: Heart & Soul, Part 3

Pilgrim Baptist Church and the National Museum of Gospel Music

The historical Pilgrim Baptist Church is recognized as the home of gospel music. A devastating fire left only a couple walls standing, but Pilgrim's legacy will live on as it becomes home to the National Museum of Gospel Music. The museum will host a celebration and ceremonial ground breaking in September 2019 and plans to open its doors in 2020.

Pilgrim Baptist Church

3301 S Indiana Ave.

Chicago, IL 60616


WATCH: Heart & Soul, Part 4

Kirk Franklin

He has sold more than 10 million albums worldwide, has won 14 Grammy Awards, 43 Stellar Gospel Awards and the list goes on. Urban contemporary gospel artist Kirk Franklin shares the meaning and inspiration behind his latest album "Long Live Love."


Special thanks to

The Chicago Gospel Music Festival

Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church

4501 S Vincennes Ave.

Chicago, IL 60653