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TV One’s Never Would Have Made It: The Marvin Sapp Story

Advance screening at Bishop Marvin Sapp’s The Chosen Vessel Cathedral is about triumph over circumstance

Chaz Shepherd, Ambre Anderson, Russ Parr
Chaz Shepherd, Ambre Anderson, Russ Parr on the Red Carpet

The story behind a song makes you appreciate it even more. On Sunday, Aug. 21, take your praise a little higher by watching the premiere of Never Would Have Made It: The Marvin Sapp Story on TV One at 8 p.m. Central.

The advance screening at Bishop Sapp’s The Chosen Vessel Cathedral in Fort Worth on Friday, Aug. 12, with cast Chaz Lamar Shepherd, Ambre Anderson, Bishop Marvin L. Sapp and legendary radio personality/movie director Russ Parr was heavenly. Texas Metro News was there along with a few hundred others who filled the sanctuary for the biopic of the church’s leader and his story of emotional trials overcome by faith.

When Bishop Sapp opens his mouth to speak, he captures your attention. Just as he did at the beginning of the screening advising all to turn their cell phones off and put them away. When he opens his mouth to sing, he captures your soul. His music has topped charts. His life story on screen provides an intimate glimpse of his journey to the person he is today, including becoming a widower after losing his wife, Melinda, to colon cancer.

“One of the things that I wear as a badge of honor is my faithfulness and commitment to my marriage,” Bishop Sapp told the crowd.

The movie reveals his late wife’s contribution to his success as a husband, father and gospel artist.


Chaz Lamar Shepherd stars as the adult Marvin Sapp, whose chance encounter in a church parking lot 20 years ago initiated their connection.

Shepherd shared that he often jokes with Sapp, “We went from the parking lot to the red carpet with your story.”

Ambre Anderson stars as Melinda Sapp and emphasized during the Q & A the magnitude of Melinda and Marvin’s love story.

“We wanted to do something refreshing that would touch people,” Parr said.

Bishop Sapp appears throughout the movie, providing context between scenes. From his parents, friends and others that have shaped his being, there are revelations of their influence in the on-screen journey.


“I chose at 10 that I was going to sing the gospel and I ain’t never sang anything else,” Bishop Sapp said, as he shared that his mother made him choose to sing the gospel or the world’s music, and not both.

As his music constantly heals and uplifts, the world is greater because of his decision.

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