For Immediate Release
December 14, 2011
Contact Information

Toiya Honore
American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
(214) 706-1456

(BPRW) Gospel artists raise voices, and stroke awareness, in nationwide competition

(BLACK PR WIRE) — (DALLAS – Dec. 14, 2011) — The Most Powerful Voices singing competition begins a new nationwide search for gospel performers who are eager to showcase their talents, compete for performing and recording opportunities – and help us save lives.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, GMC TV, Roland Corporation and Light Records announced the start of the annual online competition today. It’s open to independent artists, groups and choirs who sing gospel, praise, worship and holy hip-hop.

Signing up is easy. Just go to and upload a video or MP3 file between now and Jan. 27. (Participants must be at least 18 years old.) Artists have until Feb. 24 to get people to vote for them. When people register to compete or vote, they will receive lifesaving stroke information.

The top 10 finalists will be judged by gospel music industry leaders such as former Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams and James Robinson, the vice president of Entertainment One Gospel and president of A&R, Light Records.

The winner will be announced March 5 and will receive:

• The opportunity to perform at the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Power Weekend at a prominent New York venue (One lucky voter in the contest also will win a trip to New York for Power Weekend.)
• $5,000 worth of music equipment from Roland, which manufactures and distributes electronic musical instruments
• $2,500 from Light Records
• $2,500 travel stipend for the trip to New York
• A digital single produced and distributed by Light Records
• Personal coaching session with a renowned Light Records artist
• National recognition on GMC TV

Most Powerful Voices is an initiative of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Power To End Stroke cause campaign. Power To End Stroke reaches African-Americans with stroke messages because of their disproportionate stroke risks compared to other ethnic groups.

“I am honored to be involved with the Most Powerful Voices gospel singing competition, because it shines a light on stroke,” Williams said. “This is very important to me because my father had a stroke in 2005 due to smoking, diabetes and an unhealthy lifestyle. His stroke left him debilitated, robbing him of his ability to talk and walk. The very next year, my grandmother suffered from stroke and I’m sad to say that she is no longer with us. My father and grandmother’s strokes have devastated my family,”

Williams stressed the importance of awareness. “I want people to know that stroke can happen to anyone, at any time,” she said. “My father was only in his 50s when he suffered from stroke. It is largely preventable. We have to take care of ourselves…the first step is knowledge.”

Dr. Rani Whitfield, a family practitioner in Baton Rouge, La., and an American Stroke Association spokesman, noted that stroke is a serious issue in the African-American community.

“It is a leading cause of severe, long-term disability and death for all Americans, and African-Americans are at increased risk due to higher prevalence of risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and previous heart attack and/or stroke,” he said. “More than 100,000 African-Americans will suffer a new or reoccurring stroke this year. That’s why it’s an important requirement of this competition to register people to receive stroke information. We need to reach as many people as possible to help them to reduce their risk and to know what to do in a stroke emergency to help improve stroke outcomes.”

Power To End Stroke is nationally sponsored by the Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi Pharmaceuticals Partnership. For more information and to register for the contest, visit

About the American Stroke Association
The American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from stroke — America’s No. 4 killer and a leading cause of serious disability. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat stroke. The Dallas-based association was created in 1997 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit

About GMC
GMC ( is America’s favorite television channel for uplifting music and family entertainment. In 2010, the Parents Television Council™ awarded its Entertainment Seal of Approval™ to GMC for being “an authentic family-friendly cable network.” GMC was the only television network to receive the highly coveted honor that year. GMC can be seen in more than 51 million homes on various cable systems around the country, as well as DISH Network on channel 188, DIRECTV on channel 338 and Verizon FiOS on channel 224. Follow GMC TV on Facebook and Twitter at and
@gmctv or  

About Light Records and Entertainment One
For over 40 years Light Records has provided life-changing, restorative and inspiring gospel music. The Light Records prolific gospel catalog ranges from Walter Hawkins, The Winans and Andrae Crouch to today’s modern favorites – Shirley Caesar, Youthful Praise, Ricky Dillard, Jessica Reedy, Bishop Paul Morton, Dawkins & Dawkins, James Fortune and Dorinda Clark-Cole. Light Records continually strives to keep gospel music innovative and fresh while keeping the traditions alive. Light Records is a wholly owned division of Entertainment One. Entertainment One (LSE: ETO) is a leading international entertainment company that specializes in the acquisition, production and distribution of film and television content. The company’s comprehensive network extends around the globe including Canada, the U.S., the UK, Ireland, Benelux, France, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Through established Entertainment and Distribution divisions, the company provides extensive expertise in film distribution, television and music production, kids programming, and merchandising and licensing. Its current rights library crosses all media formats and includes more than 20,000 film and television titles, 2,400 hours of television programming and 45,000 music tracks.