Meet the producers who brought Preachers of L.A. to life. Both church-going people who were raised by pastors, Holly Carter and Lemuel Plummer are the perfect pair to deep-dive into the inner lives of successful Los Angeles preachers. They are also seasoned producers, with Lemuel boasting credits like The Sheards and Mary Mary, and Holly cornering faith-based entertainment, including the feature film The Gospel and the BET program 106 & Gospel. Armed with respect toward religion -- as well as the human side of the show stars -- Holly and Lemuel spoke to Oxygen about their experience filming the show, their mission, and their casting choices on Preachers of L.A., premiering Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 10/9c!
Read the full interview below, and scroll down for their bios.
Oxygen: What inspired you to create Preachers of L.A.?
Holly : Well I wanted to find a way to give a platform to the voice of pastors, and create an opportunity to see them not only as religious leaders, but at fathers and husbands and friends.
Lemmie: We felt like this show was very important and we wanted to focus on these six great, dynamic pastors who have very large followings, so it was really about the importance of the show. We felt like it would spark a lot of conversations and show that these guys are human beings at the end of the day -- people put them in a pedestal they can’t live on, so we wanted to show the human side.
A lot of people have been speculating on the show’s intention. What story would you say Preachers of L.A. is trying to tell?
Lemmie: These guys preach these messages of hope and inspiration. They’re really trying to change a generation, and we want to show that these guys are great at what they do. Yet, they are human beings just like you and I.
You both have church backgrounds, correct?
Holly: Born and raised. My father was a pastor, I am a licensed evangelist and I have a doctorate in divinity. I’ve gone to church my whole life, from childhood to adulthood, and I have my children following the same path.
Lemmie: Yes, I grew up in the religious space. My father was a pastor as well and had several Christian networks throughout the country. I’m a preacher’s kid!
Would you say that these are some of the most prominent preachers in L.A.? In the US?
Holly: I think there are certainly other prominent personalities in LA, but these guys are certainly at the top. They have the global following and a global footprint. They are internationally known and respected across the country. They also cross denominations and race. They were prime candidates because of their reach and their charisma and the dynamic approach of their specific ministry styles.
Lemmie: I agree. There are different pastors but, we felt these were great because they all had different, great stories and different lives.
A lot of the preachers come from difficult backgrounds. Would you say that they fueled their current passion to preach?
Holly: Always. You are the best at displaying passion when you have suffered some type of adversity. When you have come from a certain side of the tracks, it intensifies the passions behind the words that you preach, because you know what if feels like to have fallen. You know the feeling of pain and rejection….The passion and fire and fury behind their message most often is powered by what they have had the opportunity to experience.
Lemmie: Ron Gibson has these sayings, and he said something interesting when we were shooting. He said “they see the glory but they don’t know the story,” which is powerful. I mean, this guy was a drug addict. He changed his life! He says he went "from smoking dope to preaching hope,” and that’s what the show’s about. You know, Jay Haizlip was a rock star skateboarder and living that life and struggling, and that all has an effect on what they say, and how they say it.
There has been a LOT of talk surrounding the wealth of the preachers. How do they address their success?
Lemmie: I mean it’s a great question, I don’t want to speak for the pastors but I would say each pastor is really unique in his own individual views. Yes there's a lot of talk about the prosperity and the success, but that's not what the show is about. Their lifestyle is a part of it, but there’s more to their lives than just the things that they have.
Holly: Yes, again, we don’t want to speak for the preachers but it is a sensitive subject because they’re very mindful of the congregations that they shepherd. Not one of them will speak to affluence or the need to be a certain way. What they teach are the principles of giving, as Ron Gibson said, “we were blessed to be a blessing.” And that’s what you see in the show, they are blessing other people.
Do you feel like the nature of church is changing? For example, we just spoke with Deitrick Haddon. He said he used to get kicked out of church for his flashy performances – but now, he said, younger people are coming in and things are getting a little more relaxed. Is this a unique perspective?
Holly : No, it’s true. There is definitely a new openness now in churches, and those maybe a little more contemporary churches. You’ll have your very traditional churches that require traditional expression in a Sunday service, then you have your contemporary churches that have opened their doors to a more alternative means of worship and expression. Some are younger, newer, more innovative leaders that come from a more creative background -- it really just depends on the ministry. The changing church that Deitrick is referring to is more contemporary and open to that millennial group, because we know from a marketing perspective, “millennials” are the most unchurched of any generation!
Will we see that reflected in the show?
Lemmie : The church is absolutely changing and I think that’s a great thing. I think you’re absolutely going to see that on the show – how these guys can be relatable to the new generation, and how they can really capture the mind and hearts of the young generation in a new way. Back in the day, you also didn’t have an inside look into the church and pastors, and I think it’s changing for the good.
Holly: It is absolutely reflected in the show. All of these guys have a very contemporary approach, but there’s also a traditional thread that runs through all of this, and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Holly Carter is the CEO and founder of Relevé Entertainment, one of the premier management and production companies for family and faith inspired content.As a producer of television and film, her credits include the groundbreaking faith-based feature film 'The Gospel' (Sony ScreenGems) starring Idris Elba and Boris Kodjoe, 'In the Mix' (Lionsgate) starring Usher Raymond, 'Mama I Want to Sing,' starring Lynn Whitfield, Hill Harper and R&B hit maker, Ciara, and 'A Beautiful Soul,' starring Deitrick Haddon and Harry Lennix. She created and executive produced BET’s '106 & Gospel' and packaged the hit Nickelodeon series 'Lil Romeo.' During her tenure, she has also helped to develop the careers of award winning artists Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Cece Winans, Mary Mary, Kierra Sheard, and Deitrick Haddon, among others. She holds a Doctorate of Ministry from the Southern California School of Ministry. She is a native Los Angelean, a wife and mother of two.
Lemuel Plummer is the founder and CEO of L. Plummer Media, a full-service film and television production company based in Los Angeles that develops and produces content for entertainment companies and television networks. After graduating from Full Sail University Film School, Lemuel went to work at ABC, gaining his first network credit on the Emmy Award-winning series, 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.' He produced for several series on BET, including but not limited to 'The Mo’Nique Show' and 'The Family Crews,' and created and executive produced the documentary series 'Vindicated.' He has also produced BET’s 'The Sheards,' and for WeTV’s hit show, 'Mary,Mary.'
Tune into the premiere of 'Preachers of L.A.,' ariring October 9 at 10/9c!