MegaFest 2013 = MegaFun

Thousands of people descended upon Dallas last week for Bishop T.D. Jakes’s annual MegaFest. More than 50,000 people were estimated to have attended the event, which included something for every member of the family. From Oprah’s LifeClasson Thursday to the Women of Purpose of Concert on Saturday, there was no shortage of fun and faith-filled family-friendly events.

Let the Kids Say “Amen!”

Shortly after sending a tweet from the MegaYouth Experience Code Concert Thursday night, I looked up a noticed and noticed a group of young Black boys (presumably between the ages of 11 and 13) singing “Amen.” Now, I’m not going to lie and say I’m all that familiar with the songs on gospel radio stations nowadays; these kids, however, knew every single word.

This, I thought, is what the world needs to see, instead of the stereotypical image of Black boys with hoodies and their pants hanging low.

Michelle Willias and Isaac Carree hosted the event, where musical acts such as Street Hymns, B. Reith, Mali Music, Kierra Sheard and Tye Tribbett performed. Just as inspiring as the pre-teens and teens singing along were the celebrities on the side of the stage, such actress Meagan Good and her husband, movie producer DeVon Franklin, giving praise to God as well.

Strive to Thrive

Among my favorite Empowerment Sessions was Strive to Thrive lead by husband-and-wife team Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker. The Hollywood couple talked about their struggle raising a daughter with spina bifida and how their emotional and physical well being played a role in their success.

The panelists, including Dr. Brenda Wade, Jeff Johnson, Robert Ferguson and Wendy Ida, stressed the importance of “whole body health” and emphasized “Strive to Thrive” is a journey.

According to Wade, there are three important elements involved with Strive to Thrive:

1) Set your intention.

2) Make a plan.

3) Take action.

“If you want a better life, you have to do something about it,” said Wade. “Repeat after me, ‘I am worthy…I am deserving.'”

Yes, I know, it seems easier said than done; however, it is not impossible. Kodjoe revealed startling statistics during the seminar: 70 percent of Black men and 80 perfect of Black women are overweight and half of them are obese. So what did he recommend? Start small by drinking six to eight classes of water per day. Exercise 20 minutes per day for five days a week. And last, but perhaps most importantly, get a workout buddy. Your body will thank you.

As for healthy relationships, the panelists suggested nixing the Four C’s: criticism, coldness, contempt and combativeness and replacing them with the Four A’s: admiration, appreciation, acceptance and affection.

Celebrities Galore

At the International Faith and Family Festival, attendees could attend various panels and movie screenings, most including special guest speakers and actors, such as Soledad O’Brien’s “Black in America” and “I’m in Love with a Church Girl,” featuring Jeff “Ja Rule” Atkins.

On Friday night, there was the Just Churchin’ Comedy Show, hosted by stars of TV Land’s “The Soul Man” Cedric the Entertainer and Niecy Nash.

“We have great chemistry,” Nash said during a brief interview before the show. “I have a TV hubby, a real hubby and an ex-hubby. I boss him [Cedric] around sometimes. I forget we’re not really married.”

David Mann, Michael Jr., Cocoa Brown, Akintunde, Lavell Crawford and Gary Owen performed during the show.

The International Faith and Family Film Festival concluded with a keynote presentation by “Scandal” star Kerry Washington, followed by the red carpet for Jennifer Hudson’s new movie “Winnie Mandela,” which hits theaters on Friday, Sept. 6 and portrays the life of Nelson Mandel’s ex-wife.

“We don’t know her story,” Hudson said in a one-on-one interview with JET. “I didn’t know it until I read the script and understood her connection to world history.”

MegaFest wrapped up Saturday evening with the Women of Purpose concert featuring Hudson, Brandy, Mary Mary, Tamar Braxton, Kim Burrell, Edwin Hawkins, Babyface and Holly Robinson Peete, who received an award from Tisha Campbell-Martin, for her work with autism awareness. Steve Harvey hosted the event.

There was no shortage of things to do at MegaFest this year. My only complaint was that there were so many great events taking place at the same time, it made it hard to choose which one to attend. I can only wonder how Bishop T.D. Jakes and his team will top MegaFest next year!