Event Schedule





The Merge Awards Gala - Honoring Steve Harvey, Michele thornton & bishop ealy

The Merge Awards Gala honors leaders in ministry, entertainment and corporate America who are leading the way in service to the community.





With Pastor Chad Johnson.



Master ClasS: “The Truth About Men”

with DeVon Franklin.

We hear it all the time. Men cheat. Men love power. Men love sex. Men are greedy. Men are dogs. But is this the truth about men? In his groundbreaking book, DeVon Franklin dishes the real Truth About Men by making the compelling case that men aren’t dogs but all men share the same struggle. He uses the metaphor of a dog that needs training as a way to explore why behavior persists in men that can lead them to act against their vows, their integrity and even their character. DeVon provides the manual for how men can change, both on a personal and a societal level by providing practical solutions for helping men learn how to resist temptation, how to practice self-control and how to love. But The Truth About Men isn’t just for men. DeVon tells female readers everything they need to know about men. He offers women a real-time understanding of how men’s struggle effects them, insights that can help them navigate their relationships with men and information on how to heal from the damage that some misbehaving men may have inflicted. 


power session: Pitchin’ Ain’t Easy

With Michaline Babich, Endyia Kinney-Sterns, and D’Angela Proctor. Moderated by Korin Williams.

You only get one shot to make a good first impression, which is why you need to be prepared to talk about yourself and your project at any time or place. Join Network Executives for a workshop that will show you how to develop and sharpen your pitch, polish your presentation skills, and learn how to clearly convey your passion and the marketability of your film, TV or new media project in 30 seconds flat.


power session: THE TALENTED TEN

With Martin Bowier, King Bach, Keith Wooten and Deitrick Haddon. Moderated by Gwendolyn Quinn.

Inspired by the conversations initiated by William DuBois in his essay "The Talented Tenth", this Power Session explores the way in which our leaders identify and cultivate talent in the television industry.


Lunch, Learn & Network!

During this time, our registrants will have time to do private lunch, network, or sit in on Mini Power Sessions.



(Space is limited - 30 spots available)

With LisaRaye McCoy.

Renowned Actress and Humanitarian, LisaRaye hosts an interactive and fun workshop where YOU are able to create your very own VISION BOARD complete with a collage of photos from books and/or magazines to affirm your personal goals, wants and desires. This is an opportunity for you to paint a visual picture of where you are headed in life, career and more. **Materials Provided. Spaces Limited. 50 reserve slots available.



(space is limited - 50 Spots available)

With Robi Reed and Leah Daniels-Butler.

Actors will have an opportunity to present a monologue and/or cold read scenes with Emmy award winning Casting Director Robi Reed, VP of Talent and Castng, BET Networks and Casting Director Leah Daniels-Butler (STAR, EMPIRE, ALL AMERICAN). This is an interactive session where you can ask questions and receive valuable feedback.

Disclaimer: This class is for instructional purposes only and not a "paid audition.”

Taking part in this class is not a guarantee of employment. No pictures, resumes, or reels will be received during class.


Power Session: You, inc.: So you think you can dance?

With Laurieann Gibson. Moderated by Fonzworth Bentley (Derek Watkins).

A session for creatives, choreographers, and artists.


power session: the new narrative: Creating compelling content!

With Jon Sinclair, Karen Horne, and Connie Orlando. Moderated by Keesha Boyd.

The media may change but stories always matter. In this dynamic panel and Q&A session, some of today’s top television and media executives will share their strategies and lessons for creating content that inspires, provokes and engages audiences. Drawing on lessons from their extensive careers, they will share strategies for finding and developing content from script to screen, the importance of building strong teams, as well as personal strategies for the creative demands of this profession. They will also share common, often destructive, mistakes they see producers make so that you can hopefully avoid them.


power session: “A new music - a new art” - A conversation about the new landscape in music & artistry

With Rance Dopson, Fuzzy West, and BJ The Chicago Kid. Moderated by Harmony Samuels.

With technology more and more people have the ability to create music but this panel of producers and music curators know how to make a hit! This interactive panel gives producers, singers and writers unprecedented access to the creative process of some of music’s most influential players.


Power Session: Inside Television Development: Format vs. Docu-Series

With Ian Mallahan and Andrew Scheer. Moderated by Rikki Hughes.

There are many phases to television development and production. Inside this Power Session, you will hear from executive producers of such hit television series as THE PROPHET, THE GREAT FOOD RACE, THE DAVE CHAPPELLE SHOW, THE X FACTOR, and HELL'S KITCHEN, as they expound on the day-to-day processes of creating a show. 


master class: Entertainment and the Prophetic

With Shawn Bolz. Moderated by Edwina Findley-Dickerson.

There are several high profile examples in our generation where God strategically and supernaturally elevated individuals into incredible places of success and prosperity. While the world may see only the outward elevation, the truth is that seasons of intense faith, preparation, obedience, and endurance, often preceded the fulfillment of God’s promises. Led by Award-winning Actress Edwina Findley Dickerson and World Renowned Prophet Shawn Bolz, you will experience first hand the world of the prophetic, and the methods God uses to supernaturally unveil the divine blueprint for your life and calling. This session will inspire you to hear and access God’s divine direction in your life, starting now.


Art N’ Out - presented by at&t

With Endyia Kinney-Sterns, Dame Dash, Holly Carter, Rikki Hughes, TiaP, JoiStaRR, and MAJOR.

“Art ‘N Out” Movement, a tangible movement for millennials, artists and content creators to engage in a dedicated environment to express their creative talents and connect with leading industry power players.





With Pastor Mark Baker and Dr. Holly Carter.

Come elevate your self to the 10th power!



With Tina Lifford, Deborah Joy Winans, and Essence Atkins. Moderated by Dondre Whitfield.

A conversation about using one’s gift and craft to tell stories to elevate the Black family and the Black experience. United by their desire to impact culture, these dynamic artists will discuss the state of the Black family in television, as well as the importance of representing their culture well with empowering narratives and why it is often easy and profitable not to do so. They will also share lessons and stories of how they’ve used their gift to create content in all media that the community can be proud of, even in tough circumstances, as well as tips on how you can do the same.


master clasS: BOLD, BEAUTIFUL AND ON PURPOSE, powered by bether

With Bozoma Saint John. Curated by Mikki Taylor.

An intimate conversation with two of the entertainment industry’s most successful women. Sharing their personal stories of challenges and triumphs and their lessons from the journey, these incredible women will inspire you to boldly live out your purpose.


power session: Visionaries Or Villains: How TV Showrunners Influence Culture

With Anthony Sparks, Karin Gist, Traci Blackwell, Kriss Turner Towner. Moderated by Mitzi Miller.

Whether you aspire to be a creative executive or a television writer, this is the panel for you. Learn from some of television's top executives what networks and studios look for when developing television series from script to screen. Attendees will also gain invaluable insight into the pitching and development process, as well as the day-to-day management of current television series, including the staffing of writers and directors.


Power session: Using your voice, talent & influence, Sponsored by ahf

With Dr. Condessa Curley, Shanti Das, and Angela Robinson

What does it mean to use your voice to influence others? As a creative person, should your convictions impact your career choices? In this conversation, these high powered women will discuss why and how they use their gifts to affect the community.


Lunch, Learn & Network!

During this time, our registrants will have time to do private lunch, network, and sit in on Mini Power Sessions


empowered leaders forum


With Pastor Mark Baker, Michelle Williams, Dr. Condessa Curley, Angela Burgin, Markel Ringer, Norman Gyamfi, and Jeanette Kilo-Smith.


power session: the team: dealmakers and brand builders

With Darrell Miller, Sergio Alfaro and Ann Blanchard.

There are many phases to television development and production. Inside this Power Session, you will hear from executive producers of such hit television series as THE PROPHET, THE GREAT FOOD RACE, THE DAVE CHAPPELLE SHOW, THE X FACTOR, and HELL'S KITCHEN, as they expound on the day-to-day processes of creating a show. 


Power & Purpose: A Fireside Chat

With Dr. Holly Carter, Robi Reed, and Traci Blackwell.

A fireside chat with Merge's Founding Ladies about practical tips for making it in this business. 


power session: wholeness: defining beauty from the inside out — Presented by Walgreens

With Kim Kimble, Laila Ali, Erica Campbell, Charlie Jordan Brookins, and Angela M. Davis. Moderated by Paster Hosea Collins.

After years of facing insurmountable challenges, women all over the world are finding their voice. But unrealistic standards and the pressure to “measure up” still rob women of their confidence. This panel of women and beauty icons open up about their journey to discover their true beauty and give powerful yet practical advice to finding spiritual, physical and mental wholeness.


power session: the dating survival kit

With Chad Johnson and Michelle Williams.

We see them on magazines, their work shines on global screens, big and small, but in this special conversation, one of entertainment's most powerful couples talk openly about what they consider their greatest successes— powerful faith and an amazing relationship. This amazing couple will take you inside their journey, their triumphs and struggles, and the faith that keeps them as they continually work to successfully balance faith, family and career.


Master ClasS: The Actors’ Panel with Cast of “The bobby brown story”

With Gabrielle Dennis, Sandi McCree, Yvonne Senat Jones, TK Carter and Woody McClain. Moderated by Yvette Nicole Brown.

An open conversation with the talented cast of THE BOBBY BROWN STORY.


the freedom concert

Starring Travis Greene, Dee-1, Pastor Charles Jenkins, and JJ Hairston. Hosted by Willie Moore, Jr.