8 June 2023
On The Come Up (2022)
The music drama On The Come Up centres on Bri, a gifted 16-year-old rapper who sets out to take the battle rap scene by storm in a bid to lift up her family and do right by the legacy of her father, a local hip hop legend whose career was cut short by gang violence. But when her first hit song goes viral for all the wrong reasons, she finds herself torn between the authenticity that got her this far and the false persona that the industry wants to impose upon her.
Based on the New York Times’ #1 best-selling novel by award-winning novelist and former teen rapper Angie Thomas, who also wrote The Hate U Give, the screenplay was written by Emmy-nominated Nigerian writer and producer Kay Oyegun (This Is Us), who earned a nomination for the 2023 Black Reel Award for Outstanding First Screenplay for the film.
On the Come Up has drawn critical praise for its star, newcomer Jamila Gray, as well as its director, Emmy nominee and Black Reel Award winning actress Sanaa Lathan (Succession, The Affair), with Variety saying: “As frank and tough-minded and as it is warm and sweet, On the Come Up is a hugely promising debut from the actor-turned-director.”
“Jamila Gray lends credibility to Brianna Jackson, who happens to be searching for just that. She plays the damn role,” says Slant Magazine, and indieWire calls her character “nothing less than a mythic heroine”, while TheWrap says: “Even when Gray doesn’t always sell us on her prowess as a potential star rapper, she never fails to embody a young girl on the brink of womanhood struggling with her emotions and looking for a way to use her voice and to have her say.”
Lathan plays Bri’s mother, Jay, with Black Reel Award winner Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Only Murders in the Building, Dolemite Is My Name) as Pooh, Black Reel Award nominee Mike Epps (Dolemite Is My Name, Troop Zero, Survivor’s Remorse, The Upshaws, Meet the Blacks, The Hangover, You People) as Hype, Grammy-nominated rapper Lil Yachty as Infamous Millz, and Grammy-winning Wu-Tang Clan rapper Method Man (Power Book II: Ghost, The Deuce, The Wire), who was nominated for a 2023 Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor as Supreme.
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