Mary J. Blige and Lifetime have set a June release date for her original film two-pack. Real Love, inspired by her classic record of the same name, and Strength Of A Woman will premiere on the network on back-to-back weekends in June. Slated for June 10 and June 17 respectively, the movies tell a continuing story.
Both films star Ajiona Alexus and Da’Vinchi and portray the highs and lows of young, Black love. Additionally, the projects feature the talents of Princess Davis, Austin Anozie, Millan Tesfazgi, Shiraine Haas, Garfield Wilson, and Hamza Fouad.
According to the official description, Real Love follows 18-year-old Kendra (Alexus) as she sets off on her own for the first time at an HBCU in North Carolina. At the university on a scholarship, she aims to stay focused on school, however, she and her photo class partner Ben (Da’Vinchi) develop a relationship beyond the lesson plan.
Despite disapproving parents, financial hardship, and even an unexpected pregnancy, Kendra and Ben find themselves falling hard for each other and learn the meaning of Real Love.
“I wrote ‘Real Love’ based on my real-life experiences and my fans connected to it in a deeply personal way,” shared the Grammy Award-winning performer. “It’s exciting to now use this song and my music to create a new story by way of film, continuing to build on a pillar of the foundation of my production company, Blue Butterfly. My passions for acting and music now include developing diverse stories with music as the backdrop. I am grateful to Lifetime for their partnership in the story of Real Love.“
Their story continues in Strength Of A Woman, jumping ahead more than 15 years. Despite Kendra succeeding at photography, she finds herself in a failed marriage and must reckon with the decisions she made for the life she thought she wanted. Reconnecting with Ben, she is forced to a crisis point and must dig deep to find the strength to take control of her life and accept the love her college romance may be offering again.
Mary J. Blige also serves as an executive producer on both original films through her own production banner, Blue Butterfly, with Ashaunna K. Ayars and Q. Nicole Jackson as co-producers. In addition, Real Love and Strength of a Woman are also produced by Front Street Pictures and are being distributed by Sony Pictures Television.
Camrus Johnson directs Real Love from a script written by Sonja Warfield and Rachel Ingram, and Shari Lynette Carpenter directs Strength of a Woman from a script written by Ingram.
In support of the films, Lifetime has partnered with Take Back The Night Foundation, an international event and non-profit organization with the mission of ending all forms of sexual violence, including sexual assault, sexual abuse, trafficking, stalking, gender harassment, and relationship violence, and to support survivors in their healing journeys.