Dallas, TX–Lights! Cameras! Red Carpet! Those words are usually reserved for the glitzy, glamorous world of show business–but not anymore. On Friday, June 8, world leaders, dignitaries and celebrities gathered to celebrate spiritual leader and faith-based entertainment mogul Bishop T.D. Jakes’ 35-year career in ministry at the AT&T Winspear Opera House in Dallas, TX. Church and pastor anniversaries are usually a time of celebration and honors. This was no exception. In addition to the usual pomp and circumstance that accompanies most African American church/pastor anniversaries, this one was also filled with some of the most prominent names in the entertainment industry. It wasn’t exactly the typical business as usual church event but it was all apropos, since Bishop Jakes and the TDJ Enterprises (T.D. Jakes Enterprises) brand isn’t exactly your standard ministry.
Produced by Ron Weisner Entertainment, the evening was filled with moving tributes, including a special surprise appearance from international media icon Oprah Winfrey and CBS Morning Show host Gayle King. Hosts Tyler Perry and CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien were among the A-list celebrities participating in the black tie gala aptly titled “A Triumphant Journey.” The night included music performances from R&B artists Chaka Khan, Jordin Sparks, Ledisi, KEM, Kelly Price, gospel artists BeBe Winans, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Fred Hammond, Israel Houghton, Karen Clark Sheard, and Mary Mary, and jazz musicians Keiko Matsui and Nashville’s own Kirk Whalum.
There were over 80-plus media outlets from around the world gathered on the red carpet for the celebration, and the Tennessee Tribune was also there on the front row as well. Bishop Jakes and First Lady Syretta Jakes, along with their children, son-in-laws, and grand children, all as gracious and humbled to see such top-name celebrities and media present. When this writer asked Bishop Jakes if he had ever thought about giving up his ministry over the last 35 years? “Only a hundred times!” replied Bishop Jakes with a big laugh. “Of course there’ve been times when it’s been times when there were days so dark until you don’t want to even get out of bed. It’s been problems so complicated that I couldn’t even articulate the complexity of them. But if you don’t try to run a mile and just take a step; if you don’t try to fix a week and just take an hour, you’ll be surprised that by taking one step at a time, you can make it through almost anything!”
Bishop T.D. Jakes’ Anniversary Celebration Red Carpet