Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sony Hack Reveals the Insufferable Whiteness of Hollywood Sony Hack Reveals the Insufferable Whiteness of Hollywood '106 & PARK' Says Goodbye Today, Dec 19 at 6pm, w/ Live, 2-hour, Star-Studded Finale! '106 & PARK' Says Goodbye Today, Dec 19 at 6pm, w/ Live, 2-hour, Star-Studded Finale! First Image of Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in Upcoming HBO Biopic First Image of Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in Upcoming HBO Biopic Review: Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Took Me Places I Wouldn't Expect a Chris Rock Film to Go Review: Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Took Me Places I Wouldn't Expect a Chris Rock Film to Go The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Tessa Thompson Books Female Lead Role in Ryan Coogler's 'Creed' Opposite Michael B. Jordan Tessa Thompson Books Female Lead Role in Ryan Coogler's 'Creed' Opposite Michael B. Jordan Samuel L. Jackson Has His Own Challenge for Other Celebrites in Reaction to "Racist Police" (Watch) Samuel L. Jackson Has His Own Challenge for Other Celebrites in Reaction to "Racist Police" (Watch) Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means My MoviePass Experience - What Works & What Could Be Improved (The Movie Theater Subscription Service) My MoviePass Experience - What Works & What Could Be Improved (The Movie Theater Subscription Service) Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

BET Networks Partners w/ Relativity Media To Produce Gina Prince-Bythewood's 'Blackbird'

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act September 26, 2013 at 4:33PM

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: despite all the criticism the network has faced and continues to be on the receiving end of, I can't help but be encouraged by BET's recent aggressive moves within the original content creation space.
3
Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw and choreographer by Laurieann Gibson (Photo credit: Stephanie Allain)
Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw and choreographer by Laurieann Gibson (Photo credit: Stephanie Allain)

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: despite all the criticism the network has faced and continues to be on the receiving end of, I can't help but be encouraged by BET's recent aggressive moves within the original content creation space. 

Since signing the Akils to a multi-year development deal a couple of years ago (a move that's proven to be fruitful), the network has made a few acquisitions that immediately drew my attention, notably, most recently, boarding veteran Canadian filmmaker Clement Virgo's upcoming adaptation of The Book of Negroes

Today, the network has announced that it is partnering with Relativity Media to produce writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood's next feature, Blackbird.

This pairing marks the very first collaboration between BET and Relativity, and possibly not the last. 

"Relativity is always looking to work with creative and original companies like BET Networks. We are excited to have them on board for Blackbird,” said Tucker Tooley, president of Relativity Media, in a press statement.

Loretha Jones, President of Original Programming and News for BET, added: “BET Networks is excited to partner for the first time ever with film and television studio, Relativity Media to create a film that matches the high-quality caliber production expected by our viewers. BET Networks looks forward to the first of many collaborations and sharing the final production on the big screen with our U.S and African audiences via its theatrical release.”

Bythewood began pre-production on Blackbird in July - a film that's described as a love story set in the music world, which stars Gugu Mbatha-RawNate Parker and Danny Glover.

Stephanie Allain is producing and The-Dream is creating all the original music for film, which will be choreographed by Laurieann Gibson.

The film's official synopsis reads:

Blackbird is the story of Noni Jean, a hot new artist who has just won a Grammy and is primed for stardom. But the pressures of success compel her to nearly end her life until she is saved by a young police officer. They fall hard for each other, despite the protests of their parents who want each to focus on their own career ambitions. But he might be the missing piece to unlock her artistic potential. 

Relativity president Tucker Tooley is exec producing with Matt Alvarez and Reggie Bythewood

Blackbird will be released theatrically by Relativity, and then have an exclusive television premiere in the U.S. and South Africa on BET.

Worth noting, this will be the second film by a black filmmaker, with a black cast, with the title Blackbird, currently in production. Patrik-Ian Polk's 5th feature film, which stars Isaiah Washington, is also titled Blackbird.

This will be Bythewood's first feature film directorial effort since 2008's The Secret Life of Bees.

This article is related to: Gina Prince-Bythewood, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Danny Glover, Nate Parker


Shadow & ActNewsletter