Since the 2016 Soul Train Awards, the anticipation of the New Edition biopic was real! I mean, black Twitter was asking why was release date so far away (but looking back, a few months isn't that far, I guess we couldn't wait).
As we drew closer to the release of the series, BET played behind-the-scenes footage of the cast interacting with the members of New Edition and rehearsing for the film. Based on the footage, we already knew the hard work was going to pay off. The cast members worked long hours to memorize the lyrics of New Edition's biggest hits, getting the group's intricate choreography down, and embodying each member of the group. Empire star Bryshere Y. Gray portrayed Michael Bivins and R&B star Luke James portrayed Johnny Gill, while up-and-comers Elijah Kelley, Algee Smith, and Keith Powers portrayed Ricky Bell, Ralph Tresvant, and Ronnie Devoe, and former Chris Brown back up dancer, Woody McClain portrayed Bobby Brown.
The three-part series premiere on January 24th on BET, coincidentally the day after the legendary R&B group received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The series starts out telling the story of how four boys (Brown, Bivins, Bell, and Tresvant) from the Boston projects who wanted to start a group. After finding a manager (played by Wood Harris), the boys not only got their name, but they started performing in talent shows and added a new member, Ronnie Devoe, who was also the manager’s nephew. From there, the group’s road to the music industry started on a high note. With hits like “Candy Girl” and “Mr. Telephone Man”, the group gained popularity and were in high demand for appearances. While they were off to a good start, the series showed the side most fans didn’t see. The series showed the groups highs and low; the low payments and money issues the group faced during the height of their careers, personal issues with families and relationships, run-ins with the law, issues with drugs and alcohol, feuds within the group, and how life was after New Edition. The film also showed how Johnny Gill became a member of the group, and how members of the groups were singled out by different producers and executives in order to pump their heads up and go solo.
The film ended with a power reunion (reenacted by the actors), which moved viewers to tears.
Since the conclusion of the series, many viewers have praised the series for the acting and stunning recreations of important scenes and videos. Viewers also praised the casting of the film and believed the actors portrayed each character perfectly. Although I would have preferred this to a feature length movie, I believe BET, the cast, and New Edition themselves were able to dig deep into the emotions and message of the story and deliver a powerful performance.
Like many of you, I lived for this biopic, and I was waiting for them to perform “If It Isn’t Love” (which is my favorite song by New Edition). I believe the series need to be on DVD or Netflix as soon as possible. Like Straight Outta Compton and Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story, The New Edition Story is going to be one of those television events we will always look back on with fondness. It will have the same fanfare as Selena, What’s Love Got To Do With It, and The Jacksons: An American Dream.
The series will be airing again this Saturday, so please check it out. Congratulations to the cast and New Edition for an edgy, cool film.
Now the question is, now that the series premiered, do you think there will be resurgence in boy bands and girl groups?