In 2001, Robert Townsend directed and released Carmen: A Hip Hopera, which starred Beyonce, Mekhi Phifer, Wyclef Jean, Joy Bryant, Yasiin Bey and many more. Produced by MTV, the film was met with mixed reviews, but on Thursday (May 30), a resounding chorus of excitement made its way through the Internet.
In a tweet posted by Strong Black Lead, the film will be available for fans’ streaming pleasure when it hits Netflix on June 1. The drama-musical ignited sparks of nostalgia in fans who reminisced about melodies that had them singing-a-long. Based on the opera Carmen, which also influenced the 1954 production that starred Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte, the plot follows Beyonce’s interpretation of the title character (Carmen Brown) and her prowess to become a well-known actress. Given her attractive appearance, Brown captivates those brave enough to step into her path, including Sergeant Derrick Hill (Mekhi Phifer), who’s engaged. From there, legal corruption, psychic readings, and death unfold.
In a previous VIBE interview, Townsend said that he had to fight to solidify Beyonce’s spot within the cast. “Let me say this: Beyonce came in to audition because MTV…they didn’t know if they wanted her for the part and I had to fight for her,” he said. “I’ve got to tell you, in her audition, I saw her go to such levels where she pushed it really hard and was fearless. I went back and I said, ‘You know, she’s got to do it. She’s the one.’ And it’s interesting because now to see her at the superstar level it was that same tenacity that I saw in the room that day. I just love watching her soar.”
Carmen: A Hip Hopera will be available to stream for the month of June.
It was so hard to keep this a secret!
As a proud member of the hive with an appreciation for the early ’00s, I’m happy to announce that another @Robert_Townsend classic, Carmen: A Hip Hopera will be coming to @netflix (US) June 1. pic.twitter.com/0Z1IJK1mZK
— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) May 30, 2019