Something special happened in my life in 1994. My family moved across the country once again and I was facing another “new school experience”. Somewhere in the midst of that great migration, I stumbled across a copy of a book called Night Song.
The thing that struck me was that this book was about black people in the American West that was typically the purview of characters like Doc Holliday or Billy the Kid.
I devoured that book. I can’t say that my 14 year old self had an appreciation or understanding of “all” the content at that time (smile), but the historical references were amazing! No one at that time was writing anything like what I found between the covers of what would become a huge collection of over 40 novels and novellas that I am proud to own.
I remember wishing that these stories would one day make it to the big screen so that I could see these characters come alive in the same way I had access to other works of literature like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Now, 14 years later, here I am having just witnessed the first of what MUST be many of Beverly Jenkins’ stories brought to life on the big screen during the Deadly Sexy Movie Premiere in Richmond, Virginia on Saturday, November 17, 2018, at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.
I drove 1,145 miles from Arkansas to Virginia to make it to this historic occasion and it was worth every single moment. Walking in the door of the event venue you could feel the buzzing energy. Beautiful men and women walking about the place beamed a sense of collective pride in being there. The message we shared more through sight than sound was clear.
We did this.
The emotion of that momentous revelation nearly moved me to tears.
I have a sense of how difficult the path to producing this movie was as both a backer and as a creative who is committed to the telling of diverse stories as a way of helping people connect. Stories like the one we were blessed to see that night are not viewed by mainstream society as bankable projects and so we get things like Soul Plane 🙄.
Seeing Deadly Sexy up on that screen shifted something big in me that evening. It made me want to do even more to get these stories of people like me out into the world by any and every means necessary. The world needs to know us as more than The Cosby Show or Good Times. The world needs to know us as the complex human beings that we are. Actors like Travis Cure, Stephanie Timothy and Tremayne Norris deserve to have roles that allow them to shine in all their glory. It’s time!
I am so thankful for having been part of this experience. I am thankful for Ms. Bev for continuing to deliver us beautiful stories of black love. I am also thankful for having learned about Siri Austin Entertainment during the making of Deadly Sexy, The Movie.
Ms. Iris Bolling is a force of nature to be sure and she is sitting at the epicenter of what I believe could be an explosion of new black creative content making its way onto small and big screens alike in the very near future.
I saved the best news for last. Beginning on December 15, 2018, you can watch Deadly Sexy on Amazon Prime. Please help me show these big time movie producers that we want and deserve to have more stories like this one. We proved we could show out for Black Panther (#WakandaForever) so I know we can all tune in and support Ms. Bev and everyone else who delivered on this dream come true.
Marta C. Youngblood is a writer, education and social entrepreneur based in Hot Springs, Arkansas. For more information on her current projects visit https://about.me/MCyoungblood.