Brown Sugar and Sparkle are iconic staples in the cinematic zeitgeist for African-American film enthusiasts. Who doesn’t remember that immortal line from Brown Sugar when Syd and Dre’ ask each other, “…when did you fall in love with hip hop.” For Bri…that answer is real simple.
Bri (Jamila C. Gray) wants to follow in her father’s footsteps, Lawless, a local hip-hop legend murdered just as he was on the verge of making it big. Rap battles in Garden Heights are colored with a world full of big personalities and harsh words. But despite Bri’s initial stumble, she is hell bent on breaking in and picking up where her Dad left off.
Enter Supreme (Method Man), an old associate of her father who promises fame and fortune if she just follows his lead. Worried about bills and the possibility her Mom may back slide into old habits, Bri puts her instincts in the backseat and drops a hard-edged track that kicks up controversy. While family and friends worry that she’s abandoning her grounded style for an all-too-familiar persona, Bri struggles to find her rhythm while balancing success and integrity.
Based on the bestseller by Angie Thomas, this assured and crisply-paced debut feature from Sanaa Lathan is an empowerment story that’ll have you cheering for Bri from her side of the ring. Jamila Gray is absolutely slays as Bri surrounded by a cast of fresh faces destined for success as well as supporting turns from familiar favorites like Mike Epps and Da’Vine Joy Randolph.
As an admirer of Lathan as an actor, watching her flex her muscles behind the camera is refreshing and inviting. Especially as she makes no apologies in pulling the undies down around the ankles tackling the manner in which Black kids are unjustly profiled in their own schools. It’s definitely a subject that could stand a film on its own and we can always count on Angie Thomas to keep it all the real with no sugar coating.
On the Come Up is a story about carving your own path, stay true to self while finding just the right your voice and words to bring the house down in more ways than one.
I love, love love movies, watching them and discussing them...thus the birth of The Curvy Film Critic!!!
Host/Producer/FilmCritic,Carla Renata is a member of such esteemed organizations as Critics Choice Association (Co-President Documentary Branch), African American Film Critics Association, Online Association of Female Film Critics and Alliance of Women Film Journalists. My op-eds or features have been seen in VARIETY, RogerEbert.com, Maltin on Movies, The Cherry Picks, IGN Movies, as well as being a frequent Guest Contributor to Fox 11-LA, Good Day LA, ET Live!, Turner Classic Movies, KCRW Press Play with Madeline Brand, The Cherry Picks, The Stream Team (Beond TV) ITV, Fox Soul's The Black Report, The ListTV and more.
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