Gospel sensation Marvin Sapp’s triumphant story of overcoming tragedy, drug and alcohol abuse and health challenges made the big screen in a newly-released “Never Would Have Made It: The Marvin Sapp Biopic” on Thursday, August 4 at the Emagine Theater in Royal Oak.
The TV One Original Movie, which premieres on Sunday, August 21 at 9/8C, chronicles the prominent gospel music artist (played by Chaz Lamar Shepherd), the preacher’s Grand Rapids upbringing and battle against drugs and alcohol abuse in his youth. The coming-of-age love story also details Sapp marrying his teenage crush MaLinda Prince (and her tragic, untimely death to colon cancer), along with his rise in the music industry and growth in his faith.
Sapp came into prominence more than 30 years ago as a member of Commissioned and is widely known for his award-winning, chart-topping crossover hit “Never Would Have Made It.” Currently, he is an author, radio show host and senior pastor of The Chosen Vessel Cathedral in Dallas, Texas and pastor emeritus of Lighthouse Full Life Center in Grand Rapids – the church he founded with his late wife.
TV One, Comcast Business and effectv hosted an exclusive screening of the film and Q&A discussion with Sapp and film director, Russ Parr. The event was moderated by Randi Myles, on-air Personality for The Detroit Praise Network 98.3, 99.9 and 105.9 HD-2.
Sapp told the Michigan Chronicle that one of the major takeaways of the film is that everyone has a story to tell and he is looking forward to showing his own.
“(This is an) opportunity to do my first film with Michiganders, people that might have helped to cultivate and build who I am as an individual,” he said adding that they “consistently” still support “my music and my ministry even though I’m in Texas now.”
After the show during the Q&A segment it was obvious that the film resonated with many audience members including friends, family and acquaintances (and more) of Sapp.
“You don’t grow up saying one day you want (a movie) to be a part of your life,” Sapp said adding that it was at time difficult for him to display aspects of his life because he is very “guarded.”
Sapp added that when the opportunity presented itself to show the vulnerable parts of his story, he took it.
“We condensed it … and I’m grateful that Russ and the team allowed me to really be a part of the process from script to editing,” Sapp said.
Parr said that as the movie director, his personal connection to the film was a powerful one, because he too has faced hardships and loss. At times even during the film (which was the first stop on a screening tour) he stepped away because the emotions were too great.
“I’ve never told him (Marvin) directly but this particular song (“Never Would Have Made It”) got me through a lot of dark times in my life,” Parr said. “I know what this record meant to me. And the lyrics. … The words resonated with me.”
Others in the audience echoed similar thoughts and asked questions throughout the discussion. Many revealing that they have faced hardships and Sapp’s song helped get them through.
“I think everybody in this room can … relate to some of the things (in the movie,)” Parr said, adding that the human journey is a tough but resilient one. “Everybody has had a never would have made it moment.”
For more information on the movie click here.