By Kimberly Alsup
I was excited to dial into a Tele-Press conference with Miki Howard, Teyonah Parris, Darius McCrary, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Lisa Raye McCoy, Gary Dourdan, Indira Khan, and Christine Swanson from TV One’s LOVE UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT: THE MIKI HOWARD STORY, premiering Sunday, June 12 at 7 pm. During the call I was given the synopsis, insight into this true story from the woman herself, Miki Howard, and the intense subjects that are dealt with in LOVE UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT: THE MIKI HOWARD STORY.
Miki Howard: Teyonah Parris (Survivor’s Remorse)
Josephine Howard, Miki’s Mother: Vanessa Bell Calloway (Coming to America, Shameless)
Gerald Levert: Darius McCrary (Family Matters)
Sylvia Rhone: Lisa Raye McCoy (Single Ladies, Player’s Club)
Augie Johnson: Gary Dourdan (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation)
Chaka Khan: Indira Khan (Chaka Khan’s daughter)
DIRECTOR: Christine Swanson
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: D’Angela Proctor
SCREENPLAY BY: Rhonda Baraka
ABOUT LOVE UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT: THE MIKI HOWARD STORY:
The film, which is produced by Carl Craig and Eric Tomosunas and Rob Robinson of Swirl Films, covers 30+ years of Howard’s life, both professional and personal trials and triumphs, including her relationships with the men, like Gerald LeVert, who played instrumental roles in her life.
In an effort to revitalize and rearrange TV One programming, this is the first of Unsung episodes that will be turned into biopics. The highest rated episode was Miki Howard.
CHRISTINE SWANSON: “I knew then that what we were embarking upon was going to be epic in terms of storytelling, nuance and passion. Like myself, Miki Howard is a passionate individual who has a love for life. [Her] music was the backdrop to my youth and now I get to translate her story on screen. What a privilege. We hit it off right away and I knew my whole life was in preparation to tell this story at this time. We are both passionate artists, caring mothers, strong women and perhaps both a little crazy in all the right and some wrong ways!”
VANESSA BELL CALLOWAY: Had previously worked with Christine Swanson before, so she knew that with her directing that this would be a great project. She knew that she had to make time for this film. This film gives the testament of “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” With playing Miki’s mom she felt that she needed to gain permission from Miki herself to really dig deep into the character and give it everything that she had, and to express all the emotions. The moment that she met Teyonah they bonded immediately and had great chemistry on set.
LISA RAYE MCCOY: TV One has given yet another opportunity for black woman to shine. She had also worked with Christine Swanson before another project. Once reading the script she made herself available for this project. This film gives a strong testimony of life and you really look at life differently. You have to be very strong in this business and not let anyone tear you down. This film was a labor of love for her, it wasn’t about the money but about the craft.
DARIUS MCCRARY: Loves that her story continues to inspire. Doing this project was a joy because of the love for Miki Howard and her family. It was great to be apart of the evolution. Remembers meeting Gerald Levert and it was an honor.
GARY DOURDAN: This is was surreal to apart of. Playing Augie was a moment to relax and to just get into the work. Working with Teyonah Parris made it easier to get into the role.
INDIRA KHAN: Miki is more than a friend. Grew up calling her Aunt Miki. Was excited for the opportunity to pay her mom. This film is great because it is keeping real artists relevant. It is a great way to honor idols. Playing the role, she had to remember and channel her mom.
TEYONAH PARRIS: This film inspires. She had to go a lot of places within to tell this story. This took her to new levels as an artist, it requires you to go through a healing part. Watching this film, you can’t help but to root for Miki.
MIKI HOWARD: God spoke and said that she had a message to deliver, this film was all God. It showed me at my highest of highs and my lowest of lows. Watching the actors take on the roles the words just came off the page and she knew that all of these people were perfect for the roles.
On Behind the Title Song, Love Under New Management: She was 27 at the time and in love with Gerald Levert but married to someone else. She had to find herself and realize that no one can manage your love, that’s all on you. You have to love yourself.
What She Wants the Audience to Take from This Film: That there are no secrets and you need to live in your truth. If you are struggling with something don’t keep it in, let someone know. Also, that you can live through things and God is always with you.
How Was It Like to See Your Life Play Out: Thrilled and excited. It’s okay to go through things. It shows that you can have a career and have kids.
Was There Anyone Around That Helped Along the Journey: Yes, there were many artists that helped me to not give up. Sylvia Rhone was a great friend. Also, Betty Carter, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Chaka Khan, Nancy Wilson, and Whitney Houston.
What Did Chaka Khan and Levert Think About the Film and The Portrayal: Chaka Khan texted and said that she loved the film. The Levert family also contacted and said that they loved it as well. LeMicah Levert appears in the film as AB. They were thrilled.
Teyonah Parris, Darius McCrary, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Gary Dourdan and LisaRaye McCoy Star in Black Music Month Original Movie
TV ONE has announced Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story will premiere on Sunday, June 12 at 7 p.m. ET (encore presentation at 9 p.m. ET). Starring Teyonah Parris (Chi-Raq, Survivor’s Remorse) in the title role and featuring a special cameo appearance from Grammy Award-nominated R&B songstress Miki Howard herself, this is the network’s first-ever bio-pic inspired by TV One’s signature series Unsung.
As the crown jewel of TV One’s Black Music Month celebration, Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story features a star-studded ensemble cast opposite Parris, including Darius McCrary (The Leftovers, Family Matters) as Gerald Levert; Vanessa Bell Calloway (Shameless, To Hell and Back) as Miki’s mother Josephine Howard; Gary Dourdan (CSI, Being Mary Jane) as Augie Johnson; LisaRaye McCoy (Single Ladies, All of Us) as Sylvia Rhone; and Amari Cheatom (Django Unchained, Night Catches Us) as Eddie Phelps.
“Black Music Month is the perfect time to share Miki Howard’s inspiring and courageous journey of resilience with TV One’s audience, said D’Angela Proctor, TV One’s SVP, Original Programming & Production. “We are proud to have such an incredibly talented cast involved in Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story to help us represent with our first feature film from our award-winning Unsung series.”
Before topping Billboard’s R&B charts, Miki Howard was a homeless teenager estranged from her gospel singer mother and desperate for love, attention and success. Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story candidly explores the complicated history of Howard’s romantic relationship with R&B singer Gerald Levert, the tumultuous relationship with her mother, and her battles to overcome spousal abuse and drug addiction.
Delivering a riveting performance, Parris found inspiration in playing the resilient R&B songstress. “I really wanted to be a part of this story because you watch someone go through so much,” she stated. “Literally hit rock bottom not just once, a few times — but pick themselves up and say ‘that moment does not define who I am now and it won’t define who I am in the future.'”
Howard is excited to have her story told as an original movie to encourage dialogue about important topics affecting women of color. “We need to have a conversation about many of the things that happened to me as a young woman coming up in show business and being an African-American woman,” she shared. “I don’t think we talk about enough things that are prevalent in our community, such as spousal abuse and trying to live up to expectations that are not our own.”
Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story is produced by Eric Tomosunas and Carl Craig for Swirl Films. Christine Swanson serves as Director and the screenplay was written by Christine Swanson and Rhonda F. Baraka. For TV One, Jubba Seyyid is Executive in Charge of Production and Sr. Director of Programming; Donyell McCullough is Senior Director of Talent & Casting; Robyn Greene-Arrington is VP of Original Programming; and D’Angela Proctor is Head of Original Programming. Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story was filmed on location in Savannah, Georgia.
For more information about TV One’s Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story, visit the network’s companion website at www.tvone.tv. TV One viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (@tvonetv) using the hashtag #MikiHowardStory and catch clips and promos on TV One’s YouTube Channel.
|WATCH A SNEAK PEEK OF LOVE UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT: THE MIKI HOWARD STORY