Rickey Smiley to co-host 20th annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration

Comic and radio/TV personality Rickey Smiley will co-host the 20th annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration with a musical lineup that includes Kirk Franklin, Tasha Cobbs Leonard and the Winans.

The NFL-sanctioned event will be held at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31 at Atlanta Symphony Hall and will be televised on BET at 8 p.m. Feb. 2.

Melanie Few-Harrison, founder of the event and an Atlanta native, joined Smiley, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and others, including Brett Daniels, COO of the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee; Arthur McAfee, NFL senior vice president of player engagement; and Tim Davies, regional vice president of Radio One, during a press conference at City Hall to announce details of the celebration.

“My prayer and my hope is that it will culminate in a celebration that brings together NFL player testimonials, their talents and mainstream and gospel performers together for a blended celebration,” Few-Harrison said. “This year, I want people on their feet. I don’t care if they bring tambourines into the building.”

Additional performers and the identity of Smiley’s co-host will be announced later this week.

The giant “praise party” is among the many events that will be available to the general public.

Bottoms said the vast majority of people in the city and the nation will never get into Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the big game, so the city and organizers wanted to make sure that there are events that “regular working folk will have access to,” including the gospel celebration.

So “we’re going to pray our way into good weather and a good safe game and crowd,” she said.

At the end of the press conference, four members of the Super Bowl Gospel NFL Players Choir performed a medley of songs.

The choir is comprised of former and current NFL players, including several former Atlanta Falcons.


7:30 p.m. Jan. 31. $49-$125. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. superbowlgospel.com.