Devon Franklin is the man behind some of our favorite films, like Karate Kid, Hancock and Annie? Franklin approaches everything in his life, from his marriage to actress Meagan Good to his multiple movie projects, with passion and gratitude. The media exec and man of God spoke with ESSENCE.com about how he discovered his divine purpose by doing what he loved.
Do you consider yourself to be a religious person?
I’m connected to religion and that’s how I access God. I’m in a relationship with God that can sometimes be informed by religion, but not dependent on religion. Religion is an organizational institution that is there to help access God and a relationship with God. I’m a Christian man. Now, I’m very open to whoever else is of different faiths, of course, but I definitely identify myself as Christian.
When was the last time you remembered to be grateful?
Just the opportunity to even be able to talk about what I’m doing, to talk about these movies, to be able to make movies. Every moment I’m just like, wow, thank you Lord that I can do this and have the opportunity to do it, and my wife and I can do it together. I’m incredibly grateful. It also makes you then want to make sure you’re paying it forward so that others can know and feel their own sense of gratitude by what you share or what I can share.
Who have been your greatest teachers in life?
My uncle, who was also my pastor, Dr. D.J. Williams from Oakland. He’s been a huge influence in my life. Also, my mother, who raised my brothers and I alone. It went from us being on welfare while she was working at a daycare center, to her ultimately owning the daycare center. She became self-sufficient. Seeing that example in her has been very motivational. Then as I have grown into the business, Will [Smith] has been a mentor, T.D. Jakes has been an incredible mentor and friend. We’ve worked together for over 10 years and I’ve learned so much from him about life and about ministry and purpose. My wife has helped me become more well-rounded as a man. So those definitely are a few.
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Jolie A. Doggett