Just in time for the holiday season, McDonald’s USA is delivering feel-good moments in a special homecoming themed holiday experience on the final stop of the brand’s 16th annual Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour (ICGT). Through this longstanding partnership the brand is proud to support the intergenerational celebration of Black faith, culture and excellence. Hosted by gospel singer Lonnie Hunter, the event will feature powerful performances by award-winning and celebrated gospel artists including Jekalyn Carr, Anthony Hamilton, Donald Lawrence, Smokie Norful, Kierra Sheard-Kelly, and Samoht, with special appearances by social media comedian @NotKarltonBanks and poet J. Ivy.
The 16th Annual Inspiration Celebration® Gospel Tour Holiday Experience will take place at the New Light Church in Houston, Texas. Free tickets are available online at blackandpositivelygolden.com. The show will air on REVOLT TV on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT, and will be available to stream on the REVOLT TV YouTube channel on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT.
Like ICGT, Historically Black College and University (HBCU) homecomings are an annual event that celebrates Black excellence and culture while bringing together past, present and future generations. For decades, McDonald’s has supported HBCUs through scholarships, partnerships and more, which is why ahead of the fifth and final tour stop, McDonald’s launched an HBCU Exhibition, a competition to find the best and brightest HBCU bands, choirs and majorettes who exemplify showmanship, school heritage and musical excellence. In partnership with GRAMMY® nominated gospel hip-hop artist and previous ICGT performer Sir the Baptist, four HBCU finalists were selected by the brand and then competed for the winning prize of a $75,000 grant to support their school’s music education program, as well as the opportunity to perform onstage alongside the biggest names in gospel music at the ICGT Holiday Experience.
Mississippi Valley State University’s The Mean Green Marching Machine and University Choir took first place and learned of their win in a surprise donation and check presentation during band practice. The local McDonald’s Operations Manager, Kimberly Smith presented the check alongside Sir the Baptist to all 160 student and provided McDonald’s meals for all to enjoy. To mark this special day, the governor of Mississippi issued a proclamation in recognition of the band and choir’s hard work, success and contribution to the State of Mississippi.
The three runners-up, Alabama A&M University, Jackson State University, and Shaw University, will be awarded $10,000 each for their participation, totaling a $105,000 grant amongst the four HBCUs.
“This year, the Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour merges past and future generations and expressions of Black faith, culture and excellence,” said Sir the Baptist, GRAMMY® nominated gospel hip-hop artist and HBCU Music Exhibition host. “I am so proud to partner with McDonald’s to elevate this year’s ICGT Holiday Experience by bringing homecoming vibes to the mainstage through a new element of music inspired by the traditions of HBCUs.”
Building on this event’s contributions to our communities, this special holiday concert continues the long-standing Inspiration Celebration® Gospel Tour tradition of supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC®) and its mission to improve the health and well-being of children and their families. In the spirit of the holiday giving season, concertgoers and viewers can donate to RHMC at RMHCGHG.org. Since 2013, the McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration® Gospel Tour has raised more than $1 million to help families with ill or injured children stay close when they need it most.
“Part of serving the communities we are in includes creating experiences such as the ICGT Holiday Experience to bring families, friends and neighbors together. The holiday season always presents opportunities to create memories to last a lifetime and we are proud to have ICGT serve as a memorable moment for many,” said Harry Smith, Indiana McDonald’s Owner/Operator and Chair of the Inspiration Celebration® Gospel Tour. “In the spirit of the holidays and all year round, ICGT is one of the many ways we continue to support local charities such as RMHC to help families that need our support, to create smiles, and make a difference.”