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A love letter to southern black culture

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEB 17: Actress Nicole Behari attends the FIAT Young Hollywood Vanity Fair and Celebration hosted by Krista Smith and James Corden to benefit the Terrence Higgins Foundation at No Vacancy on February 17, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

Miss June tells the story of a single mother and former beauty queen who prepares her daughter for the local Miss June pageant. Channing Godfrey Peoples Movie Stars 42Nicole Behari (Turquoise), Unsafe Kendrick Sampson (Ronnie) and breakout star Alexis Chikaese (Kai). Peoples is also the screenwriter of the soulful film. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020 and was released on Amazon Prime on June 19, 2020 to commemorate the 155th anniversary of the holiday.

Originally celebrated in Texas, now celebrated as federal holiday in the United States, June 10 commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas in 1865, two years after the original signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Miss June lives in suburban Fort Worth, Texas, where Peoples grew up and drew inspiration from her own experiences.

AT Miss June, and Turquoise (Bihari) and Kai (Chikayese) are looking for something of their own. You could even argue that this is true of Turk’s future ex-husband and Kai’s father Ronnie: a mechanic who is trying to open his own shop. Early on, it is clear to Kai that she doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps and be crowned “Miss June”. Even though she is the youngest character in the film, she is the first to know what direction she wants to take after graduating from high school. Kai dreams of dancing at HBCU, not dressing up in evening dress, and certainly not taking etiquette lessons. This is not easy for Turquoise, as she is wrapped in the illusion that the best path in her daughter’s life can only be achieved through a contest. The former beauty queen is almost turning a blind eye to the next opportunity to have her own “American dream”. Turquoise admittedly contradicts herself by saying that “that crown doesn’t make your dreams come true”: she got pregnant young and lost her scholarship while working as a bartender and later becoming a stripper in order to pay Kai’s fees at the pageant and bail Ronnie out of jail. . It’s only fair that she wants the best for her daughter after seeing the toxicity of her relationship with her own mother.

Not only that Miss June talk about the parallels of black success in America, but femininity and motherhood between three generations of women. You have Charlotte (Lori Hayes, who plays Turquoise’s mother) who masks her drinking by overcompensating for her love of the church and furthermore straining her relationship with Turquoise and Kai. Turquoise doesn’t want her daughter to go down the same path as her, so she pushes Kai to win Miss June 19th, which means a full trip to any HBCU of her choice, even if it means sacrificing electricity for the night . Finally, you have Kai, who wants to act like a normal teenage girl and hang out with guys her own age, and ends up wanting to fulfill a dream of her choice rather than her mother’s.

In this love letter to southern black culture Miss June interweaves the freedom our ancestors sought with the modern freedom to own something, be it a property or a dream. The symbolism of Miss June 19’s crown in relation to Turquoise’s own holding back from her original path reflects in retrospect the old adage, “All that glitters is not gold.”

Take a look at the movie trailer below:

20 Famous Movies About Black History But Not About Slavery

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