Powerful Performances Kick Off McDonald's Gospel Tour (Photos)

Smokie Norful performs at Ebenezer A.M.E.The 2013 McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour kicked off in the Washington, D.C. metro area at Ebenezer A.M.E. Church with sold-out crowd of 3,500.

Smokie Norful, Tamela Mann, Lecrae, John P. Kee  and Vickie Winans ignited the stage with powerful performances that was as much about  ministry as music.

Vickie Winans was the emcee and kept the audience laughing. She must have a warehouse full of jokes!

Lecrae had everyone mesmerized and many on their feet with his truth-filled lyrics. Tamela Mann gave a great performance and of course, ended her performance with “Take Me To The King.” Her husband David Mann was on hand backstage supporting Tamela. John P. Kee and New Life brought the praise as he sang many of his hits. He and Lejuene Thompson took the audience in with “Life and Favor.”

Headliner Smokie Norful hit the stage with his son, Ashton and ignited the audience with “Say So.” Seeing their performance live was even more electric than watching the recent Celebration of Gospel performance. Ashton commanded the stage like a seasoned pro. It looks like he’s going to be one to watch in years to come!

Smokie Norful delivered many of his hits. The performance was part concert, part ministry as he took the audience into high worship and tears were flowing.

I had a chance to chat with Robert Jackson, U.S. Director of Marketing at McDonald’s and find out what he thought about how things went.

“I thought it was outstanding. We had a full house, we had great performers, great fellowship and great worship tonight.” At McDonald’s we talk about being deeply rooted in the community and part of our responsibility is to make sure that the brand is deeply rooted and connected to the African American consumer and I think tonight our connection and worship and devotion just proved that, so I was very excited about what we saw tonight.”

Lecrae got a really great response so I asked Mr. Jackson about their decision to include a hip-hop artist on the tour:

“When we looked at the Inspiration Celebration, this is our 7th year;  we wanted to continue to grow and expand it and wanted to connect to all aspects of our consumers and when we looked at the presentation, there was an opportunity to bring in the young people. Lecrae did an outstanding job tonight. McDonald’s is a brand for everybody. We want everybody to enjoy everybody and I think having the diversity in the tour really helps to expand the connection and the opportunities for all of us.”

The tour is set to hit seven more cities, including Dallas, Detroit, Atlanta and Chicago, throughout the summer. If you didn’t make it to DC, make sure you get your tickets to one of the next tour stops!

Photo credit: Soul Brother

Sarah Hearn
the authorSarah Hearn
Sarah Hearn is Editor-in-Chief of, founded in 2011. The site was recently named among Feedspot's Top Gospel and Christian Music Websites.  Sarah is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Gospel Music Association.
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