Tracy talks with actress Meagan Good about her infamous fashion moment at the 2013 BET Awards. Meagan shares exactly what happened, the backlash she faced, and how she found strength in her faith despite the criticism.
Going Through It Season 2 Episode 7 with Meagan Good
Tracy Clayton: This is Going Through It, a show about women who found themselves in a situation where they said, “I have had enough.” And they made a decision to make a change and turn something around. I'm your host, Tracy Clayton.
Meagan Good: I remember walking out the door. I was like, “What do you think babe?” He was like, “You look beautiful.” And he was just like, “Whoo!”
Tracy: That's Meagan Good. She's a famous actor, and a devout Christian. You cannot talk about Black classic movies without talking about Meagan Good, from Friday to Eve’s Bayou to Deliver Us From Eva, Meagan has been on the up and up, and up and up for quite a while. But she has had her moments, like what happened to her back in 2013 at the BET Awards. The dress Meagan wore to the awards was poppin’, with a capital P. Her husband, DeVon Franklin, an ordained minister and man of God. He made it known that both he and Jesus thought she looked amazing.
Meagan: He's like, “Yeah, you look beautiful.” And so it's interesting because I think he had a little bit of hindsight. Like I don't think he expected it to be what it was, but I think he was a little bit more aware that people might have a reaction to it. I was completely oblivious.
Tracy: The dress was this bright, vibrant, royal blue. It was very slinky and it, like, hugged all of the curves. And if you've ever seen her, there's lots of curves to be hugged. The neckline was cut all the way down to her navel, kind of like the famous, uh, J-Lo Versace dress. And it was very, very perfect for the Hip Hop Award that she thought she was going to be presenting. But at the very last minute, producers were like, “Surprise. You're presenting the gospel award.”
Meagan: So I present the award, got off-stage, got back in my seat, was super proud of myself. I was like, “I did it -- look I did a good job.” You know, sitting with hubby. And then he was on his phone and it came up on his Twitter feed. And, you know, he showed me a, a little snippet of one person. And then, you know, then I went on my phone. And then I looked on Twitter and I was trending on Twitter. Some of the comments were like, really, really nasty.
Tracy: This moment, this type of public shaming could bring even the most God fearing person to their knees. But when the hate comes from your own community, that just hits different.
Voice 1: Now, Meagan Good, how are you going to present the Gospel Award in that dress? You know you ain't going to church today, girl.
Voice 2: Meagan Good giving the Best Gospel Award, like her titty ain't one scripture away from popping out.
Voice 3: Meagan Good introducing gospel music awards looking like that?!
Voice 4: Meagan Good, ma'am, your husband approved that dress?
Voice 5: Okay.
Tracy: So, Meagan and I sat down to talk about how she rose above this devil in a blue dress moment. [Laughs] Well, well, this is Going Through It.
Tracy: So, the BET thing happens. You have this moment, and you decided that something needed to change somewhere. How did it change the way that you behaved?
Meagan: Initially, my reaction was hurt, shock. And then I retreated a little bit, which was walking on eggshells and really feeling like anything I did I was going to be attacked. After two years, I realized that I wasn't going to win that way. Um, and that I also wasn't going to be happy that way. And that I was also dimming my light that way. And that I was allowing people to control my life that way. And so, I got to a place of realizing that you can't win either way. The only way you can win is by being exactly who you feel that you're called to be or who you know that you're called to be. And by focusing on God instead of man. And checking him, checking with him, instead of checking with them and hoping that they have a positive reaction. And so, after that, I realized, um, that there are gonna be times where I was going to just be walking out to the firing squad and I had to be okay with that. Um, and I had to walk in my truth and what I believe is the truth for me. There's some things that I've been through that probably I should struggle with more, but I've gotten to a place of peace. And there's things I probably shouldn't struggle that much with, and I do. And even in these last three weeks, you know, I was praying for strength to help me be free from certain things that were painful for me. But now that I'm -- I’m on the other side of it, I realize that that pain actually freed me. So I just started fixing my mind to understand that even what seems like a bad thing is really a good thing, because God does use it for your glory and for his glory. And it's all about perception, attitude, and mentality.
Tracy: Yeah. Yeah.
Meagan: You know?
Tracy: That's a thing that me and my therapist talk about a lot, is, um, gratitude and how like, on a scientific level, like being grateful, like it changes your brain and it releases serotonin --.
Meagan: [crosstalk] Absolutely.
Tracy: [crosstalk] And other stuff that I don't know about. And if everybody in the world was a little more empathetic --.
Tracy: We would be so much better off.
Meagan: Girl, mmm. Facts.
Tracy: Were you ever, like, angry at the people who were coming at you? Especially like these are, these are your folks.
Meagan: [crosstalk] Yeah. Yeah.
Tracy: Like you were saying, these are your fellow Christians. Were you ever just, like, pissed off?
Meagan: No. I've never been pissed off. Um, I have been around religion -- like, once I decided to get saved, I got crazy religious [Laughs]. Like, around, like maybe 14. I mean, I remember telling my sister, when she lost her virginity, I cried to her and I was like, “I just don't want you to go to hell.”
Tracy: Oh, wow.
Meagan: And like --.
Tracy: How old was your sister? Older? Younger?
Tracy: Oh, wow.
Meagan: And, um, and nobody told me when they lost their virginity because everyone's like, “Don't tell Meagan.” [Laughs] Um, I was like a real like, you know, Bible thumper, and, like, um, very religious and very --.
Tracy: At 14?
Tracy: Where -- how so -- how did that happen so young for you?
Meagan: Um, because I think when you become a new Christian, I think you're still trying to figure it out. Um, I think that's why -- like, you know, even with Kanye's transition right now. It's like, when you become a new Christian, you're growing, and you need love, and you need nurturing, not people judging you and telling you that you're wrong. That, yes, you need correction and you need information, but you have to be patient ‘cause it is a process, and -- and in the beginning of my process, I was very religious. And, um, and you know, I was like, it -- it took me until I was about, probably about 19 when I started kind of like leveling out --.
Tracy: Chilling out.
Meagan: And having, um, more perspective, and, you know, I started reading my Bible and, and, I would read things literally. But where I'm at now is, so in love with Jesus. And I hear him crisp and I hear him clear, um, to the point of, you know, God literally told me DeVon was my husband. And I was like, “Really? I don't know if he gon’ be able to handle me ‘cause I'm a little crazy,” you know?
Tracy: [Laughs] Can you -- when you get a chance, can you ask God where Tracy's husband is, because look, I'm getting old and I'm tired. [Laughs] I'm ready to be a trophy wife, like, whatever we need. Just, just, put a word in for me.
Meagan: Well no-- well what I would say, though, is that I actually wasn't asking for a husband. I was like, “I need help. I am trying to figure out me.” And I was at a really, really, um, dark point in my life. I was coming out of a relationship I had been in for four years. I wasn't loving me. I wasn't being good to me. I was being, um, self-destructive. And I was just like, “Pause. Help me, Lord. What do I need?” And first thing God told me was to be celibate. And I was like, “I don't -- I don't see how that correlates to just --” [Laughs] you know --
Tracy: Do you have a plan B, Lord? [Laughs]
Meagan: Right? I was like, “You know, Lord. You -- listen, you know.” [Laughs] “You know me. I was very good. I waited ‘til I was 19, and you know, and I tried to wait ‘til I was married, and, you know, and even when I first got my first relationship, you know, we would like have sex and then we would like, cry, repent, wouldn't have sex for months. And like, we were just like, you know --”
Tracy: That sounds torturous.
Meagan: It was -- you know, at the time, I, like I said, I still was figuring out my walk. And even though I, I think my, my, mindset and intention was right, my heart was right. Um, you know, it's, it’s still something I was walking out, figuring out. So, when God told me I had to be celibate, I was just like, “But this is the one area that I think -- I feel like we all understand, you know.” [Laughs] Um, and what I realize is the celibacy wasn't even about sex. It was about me. It was about self-love. It was about, um, understanding what my worthiness, understanding my greatness, understanding what I deserved, discipline.
Tracy: I have a question out of my own curiosity. It's always something that I wondered as a -- I don't know, I think, I'm one of those people who's always like, “I consider myself more spiritual than,” you know?
Tracy: Um, how does one hear God? Like when you talk about like, “God said this to me.” Like, do you hear a voice? Is it a feeling? Like how do you hear God?
Meagan: So it -- it's -- it is hearing him literally sometimes and sometimes for me, sometimes it's loud, and it sounds almost like um -- like it's super far away and it's quiet but it's loud.
Tracy: Is it a male voice? A woman's voice? Like wha-- what does God sound like for you?
Meagan: It doesn't sound like male or female. I think in my mind I process it as male because I think that's the way we're --.
Meagan: You know, how we say. But, um, when I hear it, it doesn't sound male or female. It just sounds like a voice. And when I feel it, I feel it, it's like -- it's, like, heavy. It, like, lays on my heart. It's like, I know what I know, what I know for a fact, and nobody can tell me different. Like it's so funny ‘cause, you know, DeVon's gonna get mad at me for saying this, but we were talking about the Bible the other day. And I was saying, you know, “I know this in my spirit because God told me.” And, and, you know, we were having kind of a little bit of a back and forth. And I was like, “It does not matter ‘cause this is what God told me. And he was like, “Okay.” I said, “Babe, what you don't understand,” [Laughs] -- people are gonna think I'm crazy “-- what you don't understand is if God told me to kill you in your sleep tonight, I would do it.” [Laughs] I was like, “I love you. But just like Isaac and Jacob, I would do it. Because when I hear him talk to me, I know for a fact what I'm hearing because I've heard it before. And when you feel it in you -- or you hear it, it's so specific and not like anything else you've ever experienced and, and what you feel in your spirit; physically and emotionally, um, it's undeniable.
Tracy: Did that make him nervous, or was he like--.
Meagan: He was like, “I'm very sorry you feel that way.” [Laughs] Um, but it, but it's great because, you know, what I love about him is that we can spar and have real conversations and there's no judgment. There's only honesty and growth for both of us.
Tracy: You seem to have a lot of freedom to be yourself.
Tracy: And you stay who you were before you met him.
Tracy: My question is, can one be a sexy Christian?
Meagan: I think so, yeah.
Tracy: Um, how does that work?
Meagan: Um, because for -- from my perspective, it's not about being sexy in the sense where you want people to have sex with you. You know, or like you want to present yourself in a way like, “Look at me, I'm so sexy. You know, bring me all your men's attention and energy.” Sexy to me is how you feel in your own skin. It's how you love yourself. It's looking in the mirror and feeling like, I'm beautiful. I'm sexy. I feel good. I feel good about all facets of me. And it's okay to talk about sex as well, you know? But, um, I think it's the intention of your heart. And you know when I, like when I wore the BET dress, I didn't wear it to say, “Everybody, look at me. I'm so sexy.” I wore it because I'm like, “I just turned 30 and I'm embracing what's next.”
Tracy: [crosstalk] Yeah, you did it for you!
Meagan: [crosstalk] “And I love me.” Yeah. And I've got my husband, and I just got married, and I want to look nice for him. And it -- my intention and my heart, when I look at myself, I know it was good. And, and I don't think that there's anything wrong with loving yourself, and expressing yourself, and feeling good, and wanting to look good.
Meagan: Um, and so, yeah, I think it's -- I think it's okay to be a sexy Christian.
Tracy: Well, there you have it, Christians. Go ahead and get them bodycon dresses out, but [Laughs] have a conversation with God first, and make sure you're all right.
Meagan: Amen, and amen.
Tracy: [Laughs] Last question, I promise. Um, uh, the next 20 years in terms of -- speaking of, of growth. Um, what are you looking forward to, and what are your goals for the next 20 years?
Meagan: Oh, man. Um, having kids. Um, I want to be someone who encourages health, you know? Um, taking care of yourself inside out. I want to take that good care of myself. That at 80, I still have the quality of life of a 40 year old woman.
Tracy: Mhm. Can run a marathon, and all that sorts of stuff.
Meagan: I want to encourage that. I want to be that. Um, I want to be even more of an advocate for, um, women, you know, self-love, love, growth, all that stuff. I want that to be primarily how people see me, so that I can use that to help however I'm supposed to help. Um, and also for myself because I need it. I think I've, I've lived, um, a lot of years where at certain seasons I was self-destructive because I didn't have the tools to -- I could be overconfident on one hand, and then feel not worthy of something on the other hand.
Tracy: What do you mean by self-destructive?
Meagan: Self-destructive, um, I think we all to some degree have self-destructive habits. Rather, it's alcohol, rather, it's other vice. Rather, it's shutting down and not letting anybody in. Rather, it's lying to ourselves. Um, rather, you know -- people have all different ways to cope. And so for me, I want to be an open book. People respond to transparency and honesty because we're all goin’ through things and we've all been through things. And the more honest we are, the more we pull each other to each other, and the more we can help each other. That's the one thing as human beings we all have in common; is that -- a collective purpose is that we're supposed to help each other. And you can't do that without being completely transparent, you know?
Tracy: Talking with Meghan about the criticism she got from any and everybody makes me appreciate even more having this judgment free zone with my girls. There are few things on this planet that I love more than sitting down on my homegirls over a sip of wine, chatting about life. All right, you know what, maybe it’s more like bottles of wine. Leave me alone. Anyway, we talk about it all, and I absolutely love how no topic is off limits -- just real raw talk. And best of all, no judgment. So my Going Through It listeners, since I feel like we've built a silent relationship by now, you know what I'm saying, we trust each other. I don't think that you would ever judge me or tell my secrets. I'm going to go ahead and share the last chat that me and my home girls had pre-pandemic about what spirituality looks like in our lives.
Tracy: Cheers everybody!
Tracy: Okay, fill in the blank. The place where I feel most myself is.
Tracy: Amen! What does your spiritual practice look like?
Trent: I'm Christian. And I still do, I guess, semi-witchy things. You know, I -- I have a collection of crystals. I have some tarot decks. I have woo-woo candles, you know [Laughs]. You know, I do --.
Tracy: Woo-woo candle.
Trent: Some little spells, or try to. I just --.
Tracy: You doing spells?
Trent: Not on anybody's free will because I don't want that to come back on me. Just like --.
Tracy: So no like spells to make somebody, like, fall in love with you.
Nicole: [crosstalk] No, no, no, no. ‘Cause that's just horrible.
Drea: [crosstalk] That's dangerous.
Nicole: [crosstalk] Yeah, it always happens in a terrible way.
Tracy: [crosstalk] I mean, I'm not advocating for it, I'm just asking. Do you think that this generation's idea of God is different than the former generation’s?
Nicole: I think our generation's relationship to religion is different because we don't take it as seriously. Um, that's just the way I see it. Like for people to say like, “I wasn't in church ‘cause I was working.” It's like, “Okay, you're pro - prioritizing work over religion.” Like, that's, that's a reflection of what your heart is to me.
Tracy: I'm finding that my experience in therapy is really impacting my religious, spiritual, whatever beliefs. And learning those things, like learning that like the things that you think really do, like, boost certain endorphins.
Tracy: And you get like levels of sera -- I don't know. I'm not a -- these are the only science words I know. [Laughs] Basically. But, um, that made me realize that that's essentially what religion is and what religion does. I don't know. I'm still, I'm still figuring it out. But, get some therapy is the, is the moral of the story. [Laughs]
Nicole: I think whenever I take a beat, instead of, like, responding impulsively to think about how can I be more kind and compassionate in this moment? Is this the best response? That's practicing religion.
Tracy: That's good.
Nicole: ‘Cause it's about how you treat people.
Bim: God exists in the smallest interactions, yeah.
Tracy: Thank you so much for tunin’ in. Going Through It is an original podcast created in partnership with MailChimp and Pineapple Street Studios. Executive Producers for going through it are Jenna Weiss-Berman, Max Linsky, and Agerenesh Ashagre. Shout out to the Producers of Going Through It. Our Lead Producer is Josh Gwynn, Production by Jess Jupiter and Emmanuel Happsis with Production Support by Janelle Anderson. Our Editor is the all that and a bag of chips, Leila Day. Also thanks to the voices of the folks that you heard sound off in this episode. [Sings] Let's hear those names, yeah!
Tracy: Our original music is by Daoud Anthony and our engineer is Hannis Brown. Special thanks to Eleanor Kagan for being the originator of this entire series. Stay in touch. Find me on all of the things @BrokeyMcPoverty. Tell your friends and your mom and them about the show. Make sure to rate and subscribe to Going Through It on Apple podcast, Spotify and wherever free podcasts are sold. And that's our show! I'm out. Come back next week. I'll be here. Don't, don't leave me alone, please. Thanks. [Laughs] Bye.
Tracy: Hallelujah, Lord. Thank you, Jesus. Whoo! Mercy. Well, well, well!
Listen as 14 talented women tell the story about pivotal moments in their lives when they had to decide whether to quit or keep going. The new season, hosted by Tracy Clayton, is out now.
Listen as 14 talented women tell the story about pivotal moments in their lives when they had to decide whether to quit or keep going. The new season, hosted by Tracy Clayton, is out now.
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