So… What I won’t do is give a play-by-play, because I hate when people do that and totally spoil a movie for me. What I will do, though, is share a few of the highlights of this amazingly executed biopic.
First of all, if you’re an 80’s baby like me, you remember Miki Howard mostly by a couple of her biggest hits: “Come Share My Love” and “Love Under New Management.” The power of her voice is undeniable, BUT the power of her life story is unforgettable. If you’ve already seen her episode of TV One’s Unsung, you know that she longed to be loved and ended up in multiple relationships that were unhealthy, to say the least. She suffered domestic violence and battled drug addiction. During her interview, her no nonsense personality was apparent as she told her story that began with being abandoned by her mother.
In Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story, we see that feisty personality as portrayed by Teyonah Parris. I was pulled in at once. I admit that I had my doubts when I first saw the previews, but I’m glad I watched anyway. I believed Teyonah. She captured Miki’s essence and served it to us buffet style. There was joy, pain, rejection, anger, brokenness, triumph, and much more packed into those two hours.
The casting was soooo on-point. Gary Dourdan starred as Augie, the singer/producer who put her on, who later became her babydaddy. Darius McCrary played her intermittent, yet constant boothang, Gerald Levert. Amari Cheatom, fine as he is, played her ex-husband, Eddie, who laid hands on her (not praying hands) and helped destroy some of her relationships in the music industry. And we must not forget Milini Khan who gave us Chaka Khan REALNESS!!! (Chaka is her mother, but sharing DNA does not a stellar performance make. She DID that, and she deserves her props.) Miki even made a cameo that sends one of the most symbolic messages in the movie.
Gary Dourdan’s six-pack
When the cop was questioning Miki and she busted out singing, “There’s a light!”
Mugshot scene: “Fix your wig.” “This my hair!”
The song about Brandon loving her bacon
The hatin’-ass friend
Miki’s gangsta moments at the record company, with the drug dealer, and with Eddie
The montage of her getting high that made me feel like I was high, too
The constant shade from Brandon
LisaRaye didn’t sound like Diamond (from The Player’s Club).
This movie is biopic excellence. The casting, script, and execution made it a pleasure to watch. Oh! And they did what I was hoping they’d do: Let “Love Under New Management” play in its entirety during the film. AND that wasn’t distracting. Bravo, TVOne and director Christine Swanson. Bravo.