BET Africa (DStv channel 129) opened up the industry with a gospel talent search in South Africa and Nigeria scouting the next best and biggest local gospel singers to join BET in the USA for the production of the ninth season of Sunday Best gospel competition show hosted by the legendary gospel crooner Kirk Franklin.
On Saturday, 6 April, BET Africa took to Newtown Music Factory in Johannesburg where hundreds of hopefuls lined up for an opportunity to audition for the upcoming BET Sunday Best production which could have them sing their way to Atlanta in the United States of America.
The aspiring gospel hopefuls auditioned in front of professional and award-winning South African musicians; Bishop Benjamin Dube, Mahalia Buchanan and Amanda Black – who had the tough task to select the best of the best.
“BET Africa is ecstatic to have collaborated with such remarkable musical talent from South Africa and Nigeria. We are proud to be able to provide this elevating experience for African gospel talent to shine on a global stage as part of Sunday Best in the USA. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that has once again seen brand BET open up the industry and enrich young talent,” says Monde Twala, Vice President of Youth, Music and BET at Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa)
“Firstly, one has to keep in mind the goal and what we are looking for in the judging process, especially for BET Sunday Best. We are looking for people that are very radical and that would represent us in a proper manner on an international scale. The talent we have seen gives me hope that there will be good representation for South Africa. We understand that the international stage demands that people go an extra mile and that is our reasoning for being a bit difficult during the judging process,” says Bishop Benjamin Dube.
The international show, Sunday Best, is a BET original production that gives amateur gospel singers an opportunity to perform in front of a panel of celebrity judges, who have previously included the likes of Mary Mary, Bebe & Cece Winans and Donnie McClurkin.
Only the top four South African and Nigerian based singers stand a chance to win the once-in-a-lifetime and all-expenses-paid opportunity to participate in the show from 15 April to 15 May this year. Contestants will be part of the top 20 gospel stars from around the world competing for the top prize.
“We definitely had a bunch of very interesting contestants today and we are hopeful of the pack we have chosen. Our trust is definitely within them knowing that they will do well on a global platform. I mean we already have favourites who not only sing from a place of talent but sing from a place of conviction which showcases that they have a relationship with God where people can have fellowship and get to know Christ through their craft,” says Mahalia Buchanan.
“We have a lot of promising talent in South Africa and I am confident that from the individuals who have made it through to the second round, we will find what we are looking for, for this competition. I had two to three favourites I believe stand a very good chance of representing the continent in America,” says Amanda Black.