Cleveland talent showcased in Champion’s Christmas Jam

James W. Wade III | 12/4/2013, 1:20 p.m.
Paula enjoys singing but really enjoys being a devoted wife to Grammy-nominated Gospel Artist Jason Champion (formerly of Men at ...

This week, one of Cleveland’s own Paula Champion will host a Christmas Jam with an Open Mic on Sat. Dec. 7, from 8 p.m. to midnight at Take 5 in downtown Cleveland. This night will be filled with performers coming together to showcase their talents.

“There are so many amazing gifts and talents in the 216,” said Champion. “It has been heavy on my heart to come back to my city and give back like my first boss the late great Gerald LeVert. He was one of the best to ever do it and he always gave back to the music scene in Cleveland.”

Champion has rounded up some of Cleveland’s finest to come out and help her celebrate. Rodney Hubbard, Robert Hubbard, Lolah Brown, Stacey Crawford, Victoria Hubbard Barnes, Walter Barnes, and Phillip Jones II to name a few will be on hand.

Cleveland has always had some great voices and talented musicians. If you remember R. Kelly, then you have to know Cleveland’s own Lafayette Carthon was his musical director. And yes, Carthon is one of Champion’s special guests along with Nina Creque and Grammy nominated Jayshawn Campion.

Paula was recently on BET’s Sunday Best and has performed all over. She got her musical start in her dad’s church, Holy Trinity Baptist Church in Cleveland, at the age of four years old. Her father Rev. Henry J. Payden, now Pastor Emeritus, and her mother, Phyllis Payden, a choir director and musician, surrounded her with faith, love and a wealth of musical influences to glean from.

Paula enjoys singing but really enjoys being a devoted wife to Grammy-nominated Gospel Artist Jason Champion (formerly of Men at Large) and loving mother to her two sons, Isaiah and Michael. Jason, another Clevelander, was also one of Kirk Franklin singers and toured all over the world with him.

Rev. Payden, who has sung with the Nationally Acclaimed Wings Over Jordan Choir, is very proud of his daughter. Cleveland has represented in both R & B and Gospel.

Just this weekend, many of us sat around talking about the good old days and Cleveland’s talent. When Michael Malone singlehandedly made the Karamu Production of “Black Nativity” a major production, people fought to get seated at this outstanding Langston Hughes play each year. Two Clevelander’s, Bernita Ewing and Eddie B. Sands Jr., are now in the movie “Black Nativity.”

We have Gerald Levert, Men at Large, The Rude Boys, Walter Barnes who plays for Baby Face and Toni Braxton, Carlton Fellows, and Leonard Burks. Burks and Fellows were part of one of Cleveland’s greatest gospel singing groups The Evangelistic Team which included the father of Paula’s husband, Jason, the late great Lenny Champion as a member.

Lenny was a singer and would wreck a church in a minute. He recorded with various choirs including Jerry Q. Parries and Burks. So, we are glad to see Paula unite everyone from Cleveland for a musical tribute.

“I want everyone to come and just do their thing. This is not focused just on gospel, anything you want to sing, the mic is yours,” said Paula.

WEWS TV 5 anchor Danita Harris and author Niyia L. Whitsett will be co-hosting this great night.

Come out to Take 5 located at 740 West Superior Ave. Saturday night starting at 8 p.m.