Gospel great, Shirley Caesar receives her flowers while she can still smell them. On June 29, 2016, the 'Queen of Gospel' was enshrined on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a star of her very own. During her 65 years as a Gospel recording artist, she has amassed a wealth of musical success as well as influenced many artists in the music industry throughout various generations. Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, referenced Caesar as "a musical trailblazer who has influenced a wide range of artists across genres." He went on to say that "her career has made an indelible mark on American music and the sounds of gospel," said Gubler.
As an 11 time Grammy winning music artist, I personally think her star is long overdue. Not only is she a talented singer but she’s a humanitarian. A portion of the proceeds from all of Mrs. Caesar’s concerts are donated to all of her various outreach ministries in her continued efforts to always help others. When asked how she felt being honored in this way she said, “Never even in my wildest imagination ... growing up in Durham, North Carolina that one day my name would be enshrined in a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, unimaginable."
As a little girl from the south, Caesar was exposed to gospel music very early on in her life. Known then as, “Baby Shirley” she began recording gospel music at the age of 12 years old in order to bring in extra money to assist her widowed mother. From there she was granted the opportunity to tour the world and sing with another gospel legend, Albertina Walker a member of the Caravans, who she approached and asked if she could join their well-known gospel group. She spent 8 years performing with the Caravans before embarking on her adult solo career, which began in 1957. Since then she has recorded over forty albums and has been nominated and won numerous awards that include 18 Doves, an accolade given by the Gospel Music Association. Among her many professional achievements, she is also one of the only artist to perform for every U.S. president since Jimmy Carter’s term. In 2000, Caesar was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Pastor Caesar and her now deceased husband of 31 years, Bishop Harold I. Williams established their own Pentecostal church; in which they have presided over for the last 26 years. I’d be remised if I didn’t mention that she’s also a member of my beloved sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. Congratulations, Soror! Job well done!
By Lisa Mack~
By Lisa Mack~