Dallas megachurch pastor, film producer, and author T.D. Jakes received the "BET Honors" award for education on Monday night.
Comedian Cedric "The Entertainer," who often portrays clerics in standup routines, introduced Jakes, who pastors the non-denominational 30,000-member The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas. "Bishop Jakes shows us that living upright is a lifelong endeavor," said Cedric. "He does not use the pulpit as a pedal stool but speaks common sense to complex problems. He has a platform of love."
During the tribute, Lakewood Church Pastor Joel Osteen, singer/actress Jennifer Hudson, and CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien spoke of how Jakes' various ministries have encouraged their lives and have left a lasting impact on the body of Christ.
Former President Bill Clinton, who also made an appearance during the video tribute, expressed that "Bishop Jakes has never stopped ministering to the soul."
In his acceptance speech, Jakes said, "I am grateful to God who allowed me to stumble into that thing that I was created to do. My destiny is to help other people reach their destiny. You must remember that real life does not begin in the light but what you do in the dark. Helping you has given me purpose, love, and life."
Jakes plans to train the next generation of leaders by establishing the Clay Academy. The 7,000 square-foot campus will serve 200 students per year from around the world through state-of-the-art technology and virtual classrooms. "What makes a great teacher is being a great student," says Jakes.
"BET Honors" was hosted by actress Gabrielle Union and celebrates extraordinary African Americans. Other honorees included the innovator of black music Clarence Avant, actress Halle Berry, musical icon Chaka Khan, and Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie.
Performers included Ledisi, SOS Band, Alicia Keys, Brandy, Erika Badu, Mint Condition and KEM. The celebration was taped on Jan. 11 at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C.
The proceeds from the telecast will go to the organization Life Pieces to Masterpieces Inc., which provides opportunities for African American boys and young men in the greater Washington, D.C. area by empowering them to transform their lives and communities.