Check out our exclusive interview with ESSENCE Fest Empowerment Experience speaker, Devon Franklin.
DeVon Franklin is the definition of a renaissance man. As the President of his new production company Franklin Entertainment, he oversees the creation of major motion films and in recent years, has developed and hosted shows with Oprah Winfrey herself. As an author, his popular book Produced By Faith transformed the lives of many up and coming CEO's to realize that having faith is necessary to live happily within your own success. On top of all of that, he is a preacher, motivational speaker and most importantly, the husband to actress Meagan Good.
This year, both Meagan and DeVon will appear at ESSENCE's Empowerment Experience during the highly anticipated ESSENCE Fest weekend. But, we wanted to catch up with DeVon to see how they keep things happy and to get advice for singles who'd like to be where he is one day, but continue to struggle with dating and upholding their faith.
ESSENCE: When you are a Christian who wants to get out into the dating world, what’s the best way to get to know someone without compromising your faith?
Just be who you are. What I find is, and I wouldn't even regulate it to just Christians, you get into these situations and the first thing you think is, “I’ve gotta let them know everything I believe right now.” Then, you have anxiety when you get to the third date and you’re like, “Man, I haven’t even told this person what I believe!”
Scratch that, because who you are is going to come through as long as you are not hiding it. There’s going to be organic opportunities for that to come out. It’s going to be like, “Hey, can I kick it on Sunday?” And you’ll say, “Well, maybe… But I gotta go to church” or “You should come to church with me.” Organically, it’s in the conversation.
As it relates to what your boundaries are because of your faith, you’ll need to have a different conversation. However, first you have to decide, “Do I even like this person? Do I even need to talk about these boundaries?” You might not even get that close.
ESSENCE: So, what do you suggest for first dates to get to know the person without any pressure?
I was on The Meredith Viera Show and we were talking about how Starbucks is the perfect place for a first date because you want to get to the real person as fast you can. When you go out, and especially as women, a man wines and dines you but that could be a smokescreen. Romance can always grow out of connection but without connection, romance is a show. Everybody wants the show but everyone gets mad when the show is over, and the person you’re in love with is not the person who put on the performance.
It’s really about giving yourself a chance to live and to trust yourself. God knows who you are and you know who you are. But, if you think you like a person, you do owe it to yourself to have those conversations early on.
ESSENCE: Now, you speak all over the place and we see you with Oprah on OWN. But when you come to ESSENCE Fest, what about it stands out to you?
The legacy, the history and the integrity. I think that it’s one of the few, if maybe the only, live event space that I think captures the essence of who we are as people. It preserves the integrity and brings the best out of the culture and the attendees. Going from comedy to empowerment to music, it’s all about how we can come together and celebrate the best of what we are and that is very rare to see. For it to be so consistent for so long, that is what makes it different. I’m just honored and blessed to have the opportunity.
ESSENCE: We are happy to have you! Our theme this year is #BringtheLove. You are bringing your love, Meagan, to your panel. But, how do you all “Bring the Love” to your relationship every single day?
It’s simple. Just, “How you doing?” Just checking in on everything, making sure she is good or if there’s anything she needs me to do. It’s not that hard. You get so caught up in your day to day life that you can just get on autopilot in your relationship or your marriage. Just because you are with someone all of the time, you make the assumption that they’re okay which is not always correct. The person right next to you, who you spend the most time with, could be going through hell and you don’t know it because you haven't asked. Checking in, that simple thing, keeps the love going.
Romance is fine and it’s going to be there but I think real love is that consideration. Real love is that concern. It’s like wow... That’s love! I’m not in this thing by myself. Flowers are fine but on a day to day basis, do they care? Are they plugged in? Those small things is when you really have love and that’s the foundation.
Check out more of the ESSENCE Fest Empowerment Experience line up, here.
Also, don't miss part two of our interview, in which DeVon talks his new book with his wife Meagan Good entitled, "The Wait."