T.D. Jakes' red carpet screening of his upcoming film, Jumping the Broom, a project with Sony Pictures, drew an impressive parade of Hollywood stars and other dignitaries to Dallas' NorthPark AMC Theater. The special preview was followed by Easter service at The Potter's House Church on Sunday, April 24.
Debuting in theaters on May 6, 2011, Jumping the Broom is a light-hearted movie showing the clash of two families from different backgrounds during a weekend wedding. With wit and wisdom, Jumping the Broom explores the cultural and spiritual challenges of abstinence, motherhood, family, and relationships alongside themes such as forgiveness, family secrets, and misperceptions. The remarkable cast includes Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Julie Bowen, Paula Patton, Laz Alonso, Mike Epps, Tasha Smith, Gary Dourdan, Valarie Pettiford, Vera Cudjoe, Megan Good, Romeo Miller, DeRay Davis, and Pooch Hall--many of whom attended the Dallas event. Bassett and Patton were also joined by their celebrity spouses, actor Courtney B. Vance and R&B heartthrob Robin Thicke.
"The entire weekend is meant to send a message," Jakes said to media from more than 50 outlets across the nation. "It's a new day for diversity in filmmaking and for growth of the Dallas-based film market. So while the Los Angeles premiere comes next week, the real celebration is here with my city, friends, and The Potter's House congregation."
For its part, the City of Dallas named Saturday, April 23, 2011 "T.D. Jakes/Jumping the Broom Day."
Columbia Pictures Vice President of Production DeVon Franklin also attended weekend festivities. "To call this Easter celebration weekend amazing is an understatement," he said. These moments with Bishop Jakes and The Potter's House--emotional and soul-stirring--underline how much we value our partnership with him and TDJE. He is not only a dynamic producer but also incredibly gifted at bringing the themes of our films to life!"
Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett, who plays the mother of the bride in Jumping the Broom, spoke glowingly of working with Jakes. "I've enjoyed T.D. Jakes, his message and his wisdom for many, many years," she said in an interview. "The chance to work with him on this film and on a script with a message common to every person--the desire for intimacy with our loved ones--hooked me from the start."
Following the screening, Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn moderated a lively and insightful Q&A with the cast and creative team that brought the film to life, including T.D. Jakes, Tracey E. Edmonds, Curtis Wallace, Elizabeth Hunter, and Glendon Palmer.
Edmonds, the seasoned Hollywood producer who partnered with Jakes on the project, echoed the night's enthusiasm. Noting the film's broad appeal and universal themes, Edmonds, Jakes, and others wished aloud for audiences of every ethnic, socio-economic, and cultural background to find themselves in the movie and relate to its messages about love and relationships. "We set out to do a positive, uplifting film," she said. "In recent history, a lot of African American stories have been a little 'darker.' We wanted to portray Black love with the message that African American men love their women."
On Sunday, the Easter Service at The Potter's House Church of Dallas, seating nearly 10,000, treated cast, crew and other dignitaries to a spectacular illustration of the Resurrection story. A private post-service brunch for invited guests and their families recreated the wedding dinner scene from Jumping the Broom, followed by an Easter egg hunt, bunny rabbits, and horse-and-carriage rides.
Other celebrities at the festivities included Gospel superstars Kirk Franklin and Fred Hammond; Meet The Browns' David and Tamela Mann; NFL greats Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders, and Michael Irvin; and fitness gurus Donna Richardson Joyner and Jeanette Jenkins. The day ended on a high note with a rousing performance from soulful songstress Ledisi.