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CaptureHistory was made at the 2017 Academy Awards with a record number of wins by black stars. Furthermore, this was the most diverse group of Oscar winners since the show began in 1929. Until this year, the most diverse winner group was at the 2009 Academy Awards when three black stars won an Oscar.

In an upset that was made even more shocking by the way it was announced, ‘Moonlight’ won the Oscar for best picture, a crowning achievement for African-American filmmakers. Presenter Faye Dunaway, onstage with fellow actor Warren Beatty, mistakenly said that ‘La La Land’ had won the best picture award. The winners had already taken the stage when they were corrected. PricewaterhouseCoopers, which manages the balloting, took responsibility for the envelope mix-up.

This last-minute mistake allowed for the black community in Hollywood to make history by breaking the record number of wins.

History was not only made by the number of collective wins of stars of color, but also shattered records within many of the individual categories as well. Viola Davis took home the Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in ‘Fences,’ becoming the first black woman to win an Oscar, Tony and Emmy award for acting. Mahershela Ali became the first black Muslim actor to take home an Oscar for his role in ‘Moonlight,’ giving him a win for best supporting actor. In addition, Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alivin McCraney won for best adapted screenplay and best picture for ‘Moonlight,’ and director Ezra Edelman won alongside filmmaker Caroline Waterlow for best documentary feature for ‘O.J.: Made in America.’

The Academy has been increasing attempts to evolve it’s voting ranks following the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, as AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Issacs was the leader behind the campaign to diversify the organization’s membership last year. The Academy invited a record number of new participants, extending offers to 683 film industry professionals from 59 countries. Forty-six percent of invitees were female, while 41 percent were people of color.

Furthermore, four of the Academy’s 2017 nominees for best picture revolved around characters of color; Garth Davis’ ‘Lion,’ Theodore Melfi’s ‘Hidden Figures,’ Barry Jenkins’ ‘Moonlight,’ and Denzel Washington’s ‘Fences.’

 

John Cooper, lead singer and bassist of the Christian rock band Skillet, sat down and discussed his thoughts on the movie ‘The Shack’ and the song ‘Stars’ Skillet made for the movie. Cooper talks about how he believes the movie has great biblical truths and will inspire Christians everywhere.

‘The Shack,’ based on the novel with the same name by William P. Young, focuses on a grieving man who receives a mysterious, personal invitation to meet with God. Starring Hollywood A-listers such as Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, and Tim McGraw, ‘The Shack’ will be released in theaters on March 3rd.

58a5fa3a17d75.image13-year-old Josh Darrow of Virginia Beach was stumped on how to answer the $250,000 question on the hit TV game show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”

Darrow had no lifelines left and said he has “no clue” for the answer to the question: “Before ultimately finding a permanent home in America, many Pilgrims took refuge in Leiden, located in which country?”

After a few minutes of debate, Josh decided to walk away. He decided to keep the $100,000 instead of risking an incorrect answer. While Darrow did predict the right answer, the Netherlands, he is not upset about his decision.

In his last appearance on three episodes of the show, Josh thanked all his teachers for their support and told the audience “studying has paid off.”

Liz Harris, co-executive producer, said Josh was smart and charming.

Josh’s mom said he’s an avid reader, trivia buff, a member of his academic challenge team at Old Donation School, a Boy Scout – and he takes piano lessons. It is quite a resume for a young teen.

“Josh had a contagious energy,” Harris said. “He played the game skillfully and is a contestant who, I can assure you, will never be forgotten.”

Why won’t he be forgotten? Well, the young teen is doing something honorable with his winnings.

Josh is donating a portion of his prize money to Virginia Beach City Public Schools Beach Bags program. The program provides shelf-stable meals and healthy snacks to students that might otherwise go hungry during weekends or school breaks.

Since the program was founded in 2009, more than 51,000 bags have been distributed. During the 2015-16 school year alone, more than 13,000 Beach Bags were provided to some of the neediest students. The Beach Bags program is funded entirely through donations by generous community members, such as Josh, and local area business, student organizations and schools. Volunteers then go to help assemble the bags each week.

At such a young age, it is inspiring to see a young man willing to donate a portion of his large earnings to the community that helped raise him. While he didn’t win the $1 million, he won the hearts of those who watched him and the children that will benefit from his donations.

Josh will invest the rest of his money in a college fund.

“Others can inspire you, but ultimately the only thing that empowers you is what lies within you and learning how to better utilize what you’ve been given,” Bishop T.D. Jakes explained in the book Instinct: The Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive.

Here is your opportunity to tap into this power and unleash your potential.

Jakes is bringing more than a powerhouse of conferences with MegaFest–he’s proposing a new way of life for us to live. The best-author and entrepreneur will be offering the popular conferences of Woman Thou Art Loosed (WTAL) and ManPower during the four-day event. The Woman Thou Are Loosed conference will be “uniting with women from around the globe in one of the most inspirational and uplifting conferences created for women from all walks of life,” the MegaFest website shared.

Guys, there is something great for you as well in ManPower. This popular gathering is calling all “men to take off the masks society has forced them to wear as a result of their circumstances and experiences, and talk about the situations and struggles that affect the lives of all men.”

Sound life-transforming? Well, the largest faith and family multi-day festival in the United States is.

But the adults are not the only ones encouraged in living a new way of life—MegaKidz will empower your kiddos to live a life on purpose as well.

MegaKidz powered by Destiny World and MegaYouth by Fire Code will feature age-appropriate entertainment and informative sessions for your kids to enjoy.

While the children are having fun and learning, parents will enjoy an all-star lineup of speakers that will include Bishop T.D. Jakes and Mrs. Serita Jakes. Pastor Joseph Prince of Singapore’s New Creation Church, Pastor Sheryl Brady, John Gray, JJ Hairston, Dr. Caroline Leaf, Bishop Jacqueline E. McCullough and Dr. Shane Perry will speak during the events. Additionally, the format will feature transformative sessions and practical workshops that will aid would-be business owners and help people live healthier lives.

For those passionate about film and entertainment this year, the MegaFest International Faith & Family Film Festival will feature first-rate screenings of Hollywood films, where the stars of those films will hold an insightful Q&A session. Since its inception, the MegaFest International Faith & Family Film Festival has attracted big names like actress Jennifer Hudson, comedian Tyler Perry, actor Blair Underwood and talk-show legend Oprah Winfrey over the years.

Jakes wrote in Healing the Wounds of the Past that we need to let go and move forward. Sometimes in life, you need to be reminded that you don’t have to live a mundane existence. “When you begin to realize that your past does not necessarily dictate the outcome of your future, then you can release the hurt. It is impossible to inhale new air until you exhale the old,” wrote Jakes, who held the first MegaFest in Atlanta in 2004. You can catch the positive, but to get started you need to let go of the past. Perhaps, MegaFest can be the catalyst for you to encounter independence from the past.

“We’ve got concerts that they can come out and enjoy; we’ve got empowerment sessions and they can strengthen themselves and their career, so it’s one-stop shopping,” Jakes explained to the Christian Post. “We’ve got something for all ages — teenagers, young adults. And particularly with so many single parents today, to have your values reinforced in your kids right before they take off to school, that’s a good thing.”

Experience is defined as the process of doing and seeing things and of having things happen to you. We are all searching to have an experience in our lives that will transform it. Most of the time we are just wishing things will change, but put little action behind it. MegaFest 2017 can be part one of the piece to your puzzle in Dallas, Texas on June 28th through July 1. There is a reason that people are attending every year. God has a purpose for each of us and He is equipping the body to advance the Kingdom. This could be your vehicle to get there.

If you are looking for a fun-filled family experience or you just need to be invigorated, add MegaFest to your calendar. Why? Because we all need dynamic experiences that will help carve out a new path towards hope. This newly discovered path may lead us to a new journey in Christ or invite us to recommit our lives to Him. We all want life-altering experiences for the better.

This could be your time to embrace an awe-inspiring experience. Grab a hold of this opportunity and gather with others to be encouraged. You may even discover your purpose. See you in Dallas, TX in June!

For more information regarding T.D. Jakes MegaFest, please visit: www.mega-fest.org.