If there is one conference you should mark on your calendar as a “must attend” event this year, The Merge Summit LA is it! The second annual conference based out of Los Angeles, CA begins on August 26th-28th, 2010.

After seeing some of the biggest names from Hollywood and the Gospel community on the same bill, I knew I NEEDED to sit down with the Founder/Chairperson, Dr. Holly Carter, to find out how she managed to put together such a dynamic and innovative three-day event.

Tell me how The Merge Summit LA came about?

The Merge Summit LA was birthed while I was writing my thesis for my doctoral program. I was writing on merging the sacred and the secular, Christianity and Hollywood. During the length of time it took me to write that paper, I was also working in the entertainment business. It was an interesting dynamic being a Christian and seeing the different nuances and different happenings in Hollywood and the impact it had on the community of believers. So I felt it was necessary to create an opportunity that would bring a body of believers, those in the world of Hollywood and the Gospel community, where they could effect, impact, and hopefully change some of the influences that are portrayed in the entertainment community. I think that, at the end of the day, with me traveling, promoting my artists and different movies that I need to expose and platform the body of believers that have creative art, creative gifts that can cross over into the mainstream marketplace with the hope that they would make an impact for the Kingdom of God.

What type of company do you run?

My company, Releve’ Entertainment, is a family and faith- based management and production company. We manage artists and produce family, faith-based films and television. My clients include Mary Mary, Detrick Haddon, Kierra Sheard, Cece Winans, Donnie McClurkin as well as other well known names.

Why is it so hard for mainstream media and gospel to co-exist?

They are two different ideologies. The gospel market comes with strong positions of faith and the mainstream market comes with what it represents. It requires a gentle handling to merge. That is what the summit is about. It’s about gently connecting communities together in a way where they both benefit. One of the features of the conference is the Saturday morning leadership panel. That panel is comprised of three entities; entertainment, corporate America and the church. I’ve got 5 pastors, 5 corporate leaders and entertainment leaders. The purpose of it is to foster a discussion on how the three industries can engage to create relationships and opportunities amongst each of the audiences. I did that because each industry needs each other. The religious community needs branding, entertainment needs the church to go see their movies and corporate brands need both industries.

Who are some of the people that will be participating this year?

Denzel Washington’s wife, Pauletta Washington, will be opening the summit in what we call “Midnight at the Merge.” That’s where our local pastors, our celebrity VIP panelist, and our attendees can come and do red carpet photos and rub elbows. There’s music and an address to open the night and get everyone excited for what’s to come.

There’s an artist showcase Hezekiah Walker is hosting for the second year in a row. Kirk Franklin will host and perform at the Merge concert, which is a benefit concert for my father who passed this year. Along with Kirk, J. Moss The Soul Seekers and Isaac Carree will be performing. Hezekiah Walker and Chrisette Michele will teach a class on expanding your ministry to the mainstream audience. Kirk Franklin will be leading a class based on his brand new book of the same name, ”The Blueprint.” Neicy Nash will do a class on sharing the journey and living the dream. Wendy Raquel and Tia Mowery from “The Game” will be participating in an actor’s panel and workshop along with Terry Lennox. Obviously we’ve got talent agents, managers, producers, directors, writers who have worked on hit shows such as “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Friends” and “Gossip Girl.” We also have the Senior VP of Programming for Showtime Networks and ABC’s casting director. We’ve got a lot high profile industry executives and talent to give a person that’s coming up an opportunity to interface, partner with and be inspired to go back and get themselves in gear.

Who are some of the sponsors that helped you put The Merge Summit LA together?

Johnson Products, Upscale Magazine, Verity Gospel, Columbia Records, BMI Publishing, Kaiser Permanente, Wellness Interactive and Bronner Bros. Those are my partners in this, they came to the table last year, they came stronger this year and my hope is that they’ll stay with me. They have really made this possible in terms of really being able to lay this out and provide a great summit for the attendees. So I really want to say thank you.

For more information on how to register and attend go to

For more information on Releve Enterainment go to