A Mistake Led DeVon Franklin to Oprah
The young movie exec talks faith, the industry and how he ended up on Winfrey's Super Soul Sunday.
DF: What you should be looking for from me on Super Soul Sunday is a pop-culture perspective on faith that is living out in real time. I am young. I'm working in Hollywood, one of the most competitive and high-profile industries in the world, and I'm successful not because of position but because of my faith in pursuing purpose. I'm adding to the conversation. You will get a younger perspective of faith, an understanding where faith fits into this generation and a how-to guide on how to use who you are and unlock the potential of who you are to find success on your job and in your life right now …
I'm in the movie business and our goal is to make movies about fictitious superheroes so that people can have wish fulfillment. I believe that faith is the real superpower. I am adding to the conversation a real-time example for this new, young generation on the values and importance of faith and saying that anything is possible if you embrace who you are.
TR: How did your approach to spirituality help you decide that Meagan Good was the one for you?
DF: She produced and starred in this movie that Ty Hodges directed called Miles From Home (2006) and they did a phenomenal job on the movie, which had a really strong message of faith that really spoke to me. Out of that meeting I set up a general meeting with her to just talk to her about this message and movie. In that first meeting, it became clear to me that she was Christian, which I didn't know, and that she had her heart for God. It was in that first meeting that we had a spiritual connection. Years later when we cast her in Jumping the Broom, I wasn't thinking anything about her other than I'm glad we could get her in the film and she was great in the movie.
It wasn't until the premiere of the film [that] we both had a conversation, and said to each other, "Wait a minute, something is going on here." Everything started with a connection about God. A commitment to being Christian, and that foundation for us has allowed us so much freedom in communication. The world doesn't always know that. People say, "We see her embracing her faith now." No, she has always embraced her faith and I've always known who she was, so I think it's great that now the world can see who she really is. That spiritual foundation has and is and will continue to be the concrete that we're building our marriage on.
TR: Some critics say that it's impossible for someone to be a Christian and to work in Hollywood or be a Christian and a preacher and to be married to someone who has grown up in Hollywood. What do you say to them?
DF: I would say, Have your read the Bible? The story of Shadrach, the story of Joseph and Moses -- these were men that God used in strategic places in a "secular" environment … I don't even buy into the argument that you can't be Christian in Hollywood. Hollywood is a man-made industry. God is God. At the end of the day, it's about your intention and who you're serving. If you know that you're serving God and you're committed to His will in your life, then it is about how He is using your industry or your job to help get you closer to your purpose …
I have to follow God and I have to go where he is leading me, and even if you don't get it because you're only watching one scene of my movie, that's OK. Stay tuned and see how He works out the rest of my story.
Super Soul Sunday airs at 11 a.m. EST on OWN.
Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., is editor-at-large for The Root. Follow her on Twitter.