Vy Higginsen, the creator of the classic gospel musical Mama, I Want to Sing, will be honored at the "BET AWARDS 12," receiving a SHINE-A-LIGHT recognition on the live telecast. Ms. Higginsen will be honored for her work with the Mama Foundation for the Arts and its Gospel for Teens Program. Hosted by Samuel L. Jackson (who recently appeared on Broadway in The Mountaintop), the "BET AWARDS 12" (#BETAWARDS) will air live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm (EST) on BET.
Vy Higginsen is an award-winning producer, playwright, media personality and philanthropist. She spent a decade behind the microphone at major New York radio stations, earning the distinction of being NYC's first black female radio personality in primetime at WBLS, and the first woman to host a New York radio morning show at WWRL. In 1983, Vy co-wrote, produced and directed the classic gospel musical, Mama, I Want To Sing. The longest-running African-American Off-Broadway musical in history, the show ran for eight years and went on to be performed on stages throughout the U.S., in London's West End, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, the Caribbean and Japan. In 1998, Vy created the Mama Foundation for the Arts to present, preserve, and promote Gospel, Jazz, and R&B as an art form for current and future generations. In 2006, she founded Gospel for Teens, a free musical educational program for young people between the ages of 13 and 19, which was profiled on CBS' "60 Minutes" last year. The award-winning Gospel for Teen Choir has gone on to perform throughout New York City, in venues across the country, and along with such artists as Cissy Houston, Madonna, Arsenio Hall and Clay Aiken. Vy founded the independent label Harlem Records earlier this year. Its premiere recording, Cissy Houston's "Walk On By Faith" is currently available for download on iTunes. The follow up recording from the Gospel for Teens Choir will be released later this year.