Multicultural Celebration Features Bishop T.D. Jakes, Yolanda Adams, Eric Benet , Tamia & Yehunie Belay
(MIAMI – October 13) Media executive Oscar Joyner married Alem Gola in a day-long multicultural celebration presided over by Bishop T.D. Jakes with special performances by award winning artists Yolanda Adams, Eric Benet, Tamia, Mike Phillips and Doug E. Fresh.
Joyner, President of Reach Media Inc. and Executive Producer of the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show, and his wife, a TV and film actress, hosted more than 350 guests at the historic Plymouth Congregational Church and a series of receptions and concerts at The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
The newlyweds met three years ago in Washington, D.C. during the National Urban League annual conference and have traveled the world together. Last year, Mr. Joyner proposed to his bride in front of the fountains of the historic Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco. As he videotaped her describing the scene, he dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him.
The weekend’s activities, designed and produced by The Design Group of Miami, were rich in culture and showcased elaborate floral displays, including more than 60,000 roses, and a Who’s Who of celebrities, business executives and civic
leaders. The bride, Alem Gola of Columbus, Ohio, wore a custom designed gown by Monique Lhuillier. Joyner, son of media personality and philanthropist Tom Joyner, donned a Tom Ford tuxedo.
In addition to Tom Joyner, the special guests at the weekend’s festivities included fitness guru Donna Richardson Joyner, the legendary R&B great Eddie Levert, National Urban League President Marc Morial, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, Florida Senatorial Candidate
Congressman Kendrick Meek (D-FL), NBA basketball great Alonzo Mourning and his wife, Tracy, comedian Kym Whitley and Budweiser senior executive Johnny Furr. Sybil Wilkes and comedian J. Anthony Brown of the Tom Joyner Morning Show also participated in the festivities, along with comedic writers and former Tom Joyner Morning Show personalities Myra J. and Ms. Dupre. Other performers included saxophonist and Hidden Beach Records recording artist Mike Phillips, Coco Brown, DJ Dee Wiz and the popular Ethiopian singers Behaliu Agonafir and Yehune Belay.
The bridesmaids wore traditional Ethiopian fine cotton handmade dresses. The groomsmen wore black tuxedos with red vests, which complemented the red and gold embellishments of the bridesmaids’ dresses.
In a unique multi-ethnic and multi-denominational ceremony, Plymouth Congregation’s Rev. Dr. Thomas R. Niblock introduced internationally renowned Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potters’ House in Dallas, TX who presided over the ceremony. Ethiopian Pastor Abba Zekarias Gebrehiwot, speaking in his native language of Amharic, led the “Quieba Kudis”, known as the ‘Holy Oil Blessing” and the “Kabba” – a ceremony that involved the placing of red and gold-trimmed robes and crowns on the bride and groom. The bride walked down a 150-foot white carpet runner adorned with white rose petals in a sanctuary where the air permeated with the smell of roses and irises. As she entered the sanctuary, church organist Dr. Robert Heath and saxophonist Mike Phillips played a soulful, but regal organ and saxophone rendition of Mendelssohn’s “The Wedding March”.
As part of the ceremony, Grammy Award and Dove-winning gospel singer Yolanda Adams performed a skin-tingling rendition of “The Prayer. As the newlyweds jumped the broom, an African tradition symbolizing sweeping away the old and bringing in the new, the bride’s brother and cousin celebrated their marriage by playing the kebero, double-headed conical drums played to traditional Ethiopian music.
Following the ceremony, the guests were treated to an Ethiopian High Tea Brunch at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. At an evening reception, guests dined al fresco on the second floor terrace of the hotel overlooking the lush golf course. Punctuating the tables were four-foot tall wrought iron centerpieces adorned with gold-rimmed hurricane candles and accentuated by red, fuchsia, and yellow rose encrusted spheres. The newlyweds were seated in a 12-foot tall custom-designed gazebo completely covered with Jewel studded roses. R&B singers Eric Benet and Tamia surprised the bride and guests, performing amidst an excited crowd waving sparklers in the night air.
Wedding planner Dionne Anderson and Creative Director Jean Augustin and their team of event designers and culinary specialists produced one of South Florida’s most luxurious destination weddings this season. The newlyweds also received congratulatory messages from President Barack Obama and Congressman Meek.