I, along with the rest of the country tuned in last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night to watch the New Edition Story on BET. I am a fan of New Edition so I was super excited when the news broke about this movie. I had high expectations for the film from the beginning, especially once I learned that New Edition was 100% behind it. Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE a good biopic, especially if the actual artist is behind it. Selena, The Temptations, Ray, Malcolm X and The Jacksons: An American Dream are my favorites and the New Edition Story has been added to the list. I loved the movie and I have officially seen it three times since its debut (you know BET replays shows to death). Matter of fact, it is on while I am writing this LOL. Here are my thoughts…
- The casting was on point overall. When I see movies where they don’t even try to cast people who look a little bit like the artist, it bugs me (cue Flex Alexander as Michael Jackson). The costumes, the accents, the mannerisms, the singing voices, haircuts (some of them) were so accurate and I appreciated all of it.
- The little boy who played young Ralph Tresvant (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) is a force to be reckoned with. All of the youngins did well but he definitely stood out. I did some research and found out he played Young Simba in The Lion King on Broadway. He kinda reminds me of a young Michael Jackson.
- The scene where the mamas just signed the contracts without reading them gave us another taste of how many artists were so happy to get record deals, they signed on the dotted line and paid the consequences later. Granted, when you are uneducated about the music business and you see dollar signs, how can you refuse?
- Where were the fathers? It was sad to see not one single father in any of the households. Everything fell on the mothers who were struggling for years until they started making real money. The boys ended up looking at Brook Payne, their manager/choreographer, as a father figure because he truly cared for them and looked out for them.
- Nobody can forget the quintessential Black mama line, “You don’t see me on this damn phone???” by Ricky Bell’s mama, played by Lisa Nicole Carson. It was good to see her back on the screen. I know ya’ll remember her from Love Jones, Eve’s Bayou and Jason’s Lyric, just to name a few. Sidenote: the amount of secondhand smoke flowing through the projects and the rec center was crazy. Between a few of the mamas and Brook, those boys inhaled enough smoke in their lungs to never want to pick up the habit.
- I enjoyed how they transitioned the characters from kids to teenagers while they were performing in concert. It made it easier for the viewers to know who was who without skipping to a scene where they were older overnight.
- When I was a kid, I remember having a little crush on Ralph. As I got older, Ronnie became my favorite. As of today, Michael Bivins is my new FAV! He was played by Bryshere Y. Gray aka Hakeem from Empire. Please forgive me but he will always be Hakeem to me and he did an AWESOME job playing Biv. His voice, accent, mannerisms, swag, everything was on point! He needs a damn Oscar for that role. Mike is a straight up G and has been once since he was a child. He always spoke his mind and didn’t take any shit from anyone. He also was a hothead who fought at the drop of a dime.
- That damn Bobby Brown *sigh*. If that wasn’t David Ruffin reincarnated, I don’t know who it was. I called him David Ruffin Jr. for the entire movie. We knew he couldn’t be trusted early on and he grew up so fast, doing drugs and having babies at 15, and defying the group because he didn’t want to be told what to do. We all knew he was destined to be a solo act but it was frustrating as hell to see how he behaved. The part when he said “New Edition died when I left the group” took me back to when David Ruffin screamed, “Ya’ll ain’t nothin but some fake ass Temps. The Temps ain’t nothin without David Ruffin!” See? They are the same person.
- The fights that these men had (which usually involved Bobby) were crazy. They just use to fight in front of thousands of fans ON STAGE like it was nothing. Back then, it was easy to keep all that stuff under wraps but nowadays, cell phones would have been on deck, recording every move.
- Ronnie is obviously the quiet one who seemed to be the glue. He kept the group together by being the voice of reason at times. I love that they included his wedding in the movie. And who knew Ricky had a drug problem? I am so glad he was confident enough to be transparent and show that part of his life.
- From what I could see, Ralph kept quiet for years about his true feelings but he also seemed pretty loyal to the group until he wasn’t. By the time he cut his solo album, I guess he just was ready to explode. When he played one of his solo tracks for the guys at his apartment, it gave me a Flash: It’s Lonely at the Top vibe. If you have seen the Five Heartbeats, you know what I’m referring to 😉
- Two words: LUKE JAMES. This man gave me LIFE playing Johnny Gill. Listening to Can You Stand the Rain and Boys to Men, I was like is that Johnny or Luke singing? His vocal tone was so accurate and so were those high notes that he hit. He nailed it! And I was here for it, every bit of it.
- Tank did a good job playing Jheryl Busby and I will always have love for my guy Wood Harris who played Brook Payne.
- Last but not least, I applaud the cast for getting those dance moves down. They went through boot camp and rehearsed until they perfected them. New Edition will always be known for their moves so that was an extremely important part to master.
Overall, the movie was well done. I didn’t want it to end. They should do a part two just covering 2005 – 2017. The attention to detail was impeccable and as a viewer, I was 100% convinced. I really felt like I was in those eras during each scene. Thank you New Edition for your music and for telling your story. Your legacy will never die.