The New Edition Story (2017)
Director: Chris Robinson
Starring: Algee Smith, Woody McClain, Bryshere Gray, Elijah Kelley, Keith Powers, Luke James, Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Tyler Marcel Williams, Dante Hoagland, Caleb McLaughlin, Myles Truitt, Wood Harris
Over the last few years, we have seen an abundance of made for TV biopics. Many of these biopics told the stories of some of our most beloved recording artists such as TLC, Toni Braxton, and Whitney Houston. A few of these Biopics were hits (CrazySexCool: The TLC Story, and Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge, & Michel’le) but many missed the mark. Lifetime’s portrayals of both Aaliyah and Whitney Houston made fans highly upset. They were angry about the casting, the music, and the fact their families weren’t involved in the projects. This has caused many people to become very skeptical of TV Biopics. Still no matter how disappointed people are about previous biopics we still continue to tune in when a new one is released and the New Edition Story was no exception.
New Edition is one of the most talented and successful R&B/Pop groups in history. The group founded was by Bobby Brown, Michael Bivins, and Ricky Bell when they were children growing up in the Orchard Park projects in Boston. Over the 30+ years New Edition has been together they released seven albums and many hit songs including Candy Girl, Mr. Telephone Man, If It Isn’t Love, and Can You Stand the Rain.
New Edition has many fans that span different age ranges. During their time in the industry, many people have enjoyed their music both as a group and in their solo projects. On Wednesday, January 24th fans turned in to see if BET would do New Edition justice. BET opted to make the New Edition Story a three miniseries with a runtime of 2 hours per night. Unlike some other biopics, all the members of New Edition were heavily involved in the production of the film and that helped to create a winning formula. Both fans and critics agreed that the biopic was a success.
The New Edition Story included some well know actors such as Wood Harris, Yvette Nicole Brown, Fazion Love, Michael Rapaport, and Lisa Nicole Carson. These actors have been in several movies, so their acting skills are on point. All of the young actors who played New Edition as children did very well but the breakout star was Tyler Marcel Williams (Young Bobby Brown). Not only did Williams look like Bobby Brown, but he had his mannerisms and personality down packed.
They picked the perfect group of young men to play New Edition as teens/adults. Algee Smith and Luke James nailed the singing voices of Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill. One of the best moments was when they sung Can You Stand the Rain. This was Bryshere Gray’s first role other than on Empire and he did an excellent job in his portrayal of Michael Bivins. I think his character Hakeem and Mike are very similar. That’s what made Gray perfect for the role. New Edition’s Manager Brooke Payne told Ebony Magazine that he was pleased with Wood Harris’ portrayal of him. Payne felt that all his emotions came across in Harris.
The music in the film was excellent as well. Instead of lip-syncing the cast sang all of New Edition’s songs in the film like Candy Girl, Mr. Telephone Man, Cool It Now, and If It Isn’t Love. The cast had to perform on stage and learn all of the Choreography to the songs. You could tell they worked very hard and went through a lot of training for their roles. Their dedication played out on the screen. I loved how they reenacted some of New Editions videos. One of the best parts of the movie was when they reenacted If It Isn’t Love. That was some of the best Choreography in a music video.
Many of us learned a lot of things we didn’t know about New Edition. Bobby Brown founded New Edition when he was only 9 years old. The record company only wanted to sign Ralph, but he refused to sing without his friends. We learned about some of the major conflicts and blow ups in the group like all the issues they had with Bobby. The record labels scammed New Edition and their families out of money. We also learned how Johnny Gill replaced Bobby Brown in the group. One of the most surprising parts of the story was how Ricky bell struggled with substance abuse. The New Edition Story was both insightful and entertaining.
All and all I think New Edition, the cast, and BET did an excellent job on the New Edition Story. I hope that future biopics are just as well made as this one. What were your thoughts on the New Edition Story? Who else would you like to see a biopic about? Comment your thoughts below and don’t forget to click the share buttons to share with your friends!!