Google Images: The Real New Edition & The Actors who played in New Edition Movie
Biopics give all the glimpses into a persons life, it shows you all their ups and downs, triumphs and tribulations. And then is there biopics that are poorly done i.e Lifetime Aaliyah biopic. Please google the memes if you are not familiar the fiasco that was.
Last week BET aired a three night mini movie series, on the beloved and also one of my favorite R&B groups New Edition. In three nights the fans were educated on the Rise, the fall, the fights and the brotherhood of New Edition.
Part 1: 1978 shows us Pre-Teen New Edition, We saw that Ricky Bell lived in a full house full of siblings. Mike Bivins was a typical basketball loving teenage boy who spent his time hooping on the court. And who would have thought the king of stage, the bad boy of R&B Mr. Bobby Brown himself had stage freight and ran off the stage into his mother arms. Bobby running off the stage and that being witnessed by Ricky and Mike. Is what lead to the birth of New Edition, Bobby knew that he would be better with friends by his side.
The trio of Ricky, Bobby and Mike was not enough they knew they needed another member in the group. And went to go find kong fu loving Ralph Tresvant. And the cutest part in the film was the girl who was checking Ralph out and Ricky says talk to her. He said not now and Ricky runs over like he is going to help Ralph. But actually starts mackin on the girl, and Ralph goes and stake his claim.
The boys practice and realize they need help with learning the best steps, they sneak off and find someone that would help them. They go do just that, and meet up with Brooke Payne for guidance. And then comes the talent show. Then enters Maurice Star who advised they need another member to be the full package. Brooke suggest that his nephew Ronnie would be a perfect fit. We see Ronnie practicing steps and his little brotherly teasing him about it. Later on Ronnie becomes apart of the group and the super group is now fully born.
It was interesting to learn as much of a hit as candy girl was and even beating the king of pop Micheal Jackson to number one on the charts. Touring around the world they were singing and dancing. And all they had to show was a $1.87 for all their hardwork and efforts. And to get off a tour bus in the middle of the projects was very humbling to see. I remember watching New Edition and many other artists and assumed at my young age these entertainers had all the money in the world.
Part II: The 80's Brooke has been booted by the request of the boys mothers, well Ronnie mom was not feeling that at all since Brooke is her brother and Ronnie uncle. In comes Gary ushering the boys into MCA records to sing and perform for then label head Jeryl Busby and A&R Louis Silas. It seemed all good at first. But Jheryl let Gary know how he felt behind closed doors and that was he didn't care for the NE boys, he wanted "Pop Stars" whatever the hell that meant.
In this part this is where we see the rise of the bad boy Bobby Brown, his antics, fights with Mike, his drug use all come out in part II. Him blowing up on stage during Mr. Telephone, and then being kicked out of the group. That for me was heartbreaking to see, I heard to the stories but to see it acted out on screen was something else. They didn't want to kick him out, like Ricky said Bobby is the reason why New Edition existed. Even Mike suggested that the Bobby take a hiatus for a while. But Gary put the pressure on them and they had to vote him out in order to succeed.
Bobby goes solo and never looked backed, so much so Ralph thought it was his time to be in the spotlight on his own. Secretly recorded songs for his solo album called "Living The Dream" and I must say the song Ralph played in the movie for the guys, I am very intrigued to hear the actual version. Mike, Ronnie and Ricky was not feeling Ralph solo demo at all. Ralph presented it to Jheryl, who loved the demo but wanted another NE album first before Ralph could go solo and Ralph was not feeling it but he went along with it.
Ralph had the opportunity to go solo before the group recorded anything and wanted to be with his boys. Second time he saw his opportunity strike out on his own and the label wanted him to be there with the boys. Did Ralph play himself? Next post I will elaborate more on my thoughts of Ralph Tresvant solo career. When Johnny Gill comes to the group and Ralph did not know, man the heartbreak album almost didn't happen. And that would have been a heartbreak if we didn't get a chance to hear that album.
Johnny Gill in so many ways was the saving grace for New Edition, not only did that mighty voice of his give the group a more mature sound. But he help make their over all sound more layered and complex. He helped them transition from boys to men, so much so it is the last song on Heartbreak album. And name of the legendary group Boyz II Men who we also see perform for Mike Bivins after a show in LA.
Part III: The Heart Break Tour, we learn they toured with Bobby Brown and Al B. Sure, Bobby now solo, still showing out and showing up late to the show. Bobby was on fire at this time and so was NE. Both Don't Be Cruel and The Heartbreak album both dropped on the same day on June 20th 1988. Now I was seven at the time so that was few years before I started hustling money for cassette tapes of my own. But I could not even imagine what it was like for the music of these artists going to the record store that day. It sure would have sucked to have enough money for one album.
In the last installment of the series, we get to see the grown men after the solo albums, and the then tour of doom. In 1996 was the home again album and reunion tour, I remember that time vividly, all six members at the same damn time too much. While many of us was excited, it was a whole other story for the guys. They was in debt due to the second solo albums falling through. Fights and gun shots erupted during one tour stop. All the stress and tension of that situation caused Brooke Payne to have a heart attack and the tour ends.
We learn Ralph was getting a divorced from his long time love, Ricky had financial troubles and also a drug habit that almost took him out this world. Mike was having trouble keeping his artist happy, folks thought Ronnie Devoe had fallen on hard times because he was getting his real estate license.
Johnny Gill moved on to join LSG (Levert, Sweat, Gill). The guys finally reunited once again during Ronnie wedding and we see all six perform at the BET 25th anniversary in 2005.
The Casting: The actors who played the young pre teen New Edition, I must say look they look a lot like the actual group members when they were twelve years old. They was very professional and very talented, I hope to see them more in many more movies to come, they are the next generation of hollywood.
The grown up new edition: Woody McClan played Bobby Brown, Keith Powers played Ronnie Devoe, Algee Smith played Ralph Tresvant, Brayshere Gray played Michael Bivins, Elijah Kelley played Ricky Bell and Luke James played Johnny Gill. These fellas really and truly embodied every member of New Edition like they was actually New Edition. The dance steps was on point, all of us think the choreography from If it Isn't love is just some two steps, child please.
And these guys went through an intense training camp with Brooke Payne and New Edition to get the steps right. And the steps were right indeed, and I actually enjoyed their actually singing voices as well. I know Elijah Kelley showed his vocal pipes in both live versions of Hair Spray and in the Wiz. And Mr. Luke James lord knows I hope that this movie place him in the spotlight he need to be in. He has a voice on him, well he played Johnny Gill no more need to be said
The Wardrobe: Who ever was the stylist for this movie, deserves some kind of award, matter of fact I hope BET awards give this person one on this year show. The clothing was on point, from start to finish. The wardrobe the mothers wore during their scenes was so realistic because my mother, aunt and women in my neighborhood wore clothing like that during the 80's and 90's.
The scenes where the guys was on their down time for singing and touring. Their outfits was so on point it was not even funny. My brother was even saying he could have be in New Edition he felt he looked just like them back in the day. And he did as far as clothing and hairstyles, he had the same shag haircut with he part on the side because Ralph Tresvant had one. That how serious it was back then. And BET captured that essence of that time period very well and in a lot of bio pics or period pieces wardrobe and settings are not always on point.
Overall I have throughly enjoyed the movie, and yes I will get it when it comes to DVD, and further more I am really proud of BET. They have stepped up their programming game all the way up and I am not mad about it. Will they return to the glory days of video soul, teen summit & rap city? Probably not but they won me over with this movie
NE 4 Life...........