With This Ring On Set

 

Summer came and the kids had camp and I had a writing project and then big things we’d been plotting for years came at warp speed and my hands got mad full and I had to let go of some things—namely, daily posts here at MyBrownBaby. Which was, in the beginning, a little weird, considering I’ve been blogging here pretty much every weekday since October 2008. I got reasons. Good ones. *points finger* Blame Charlie Wilson. And Gabrielle Union. And movie director Nzinga Stewart and her gang of stars, including Jill Scott, Eve, Regina P. Hall, Jason W. George, Stephen Bishop and Brian White.

Let me explain.

Y’all know I write books to keep the lights on and the tuition paid (and occasionally buy cute shoes, ahem), right? So, in keeping with a 22-book streak begun in 1997, I spent the last few months penning Wilson’s—a.k.a. Uncle Charlie’s—upcoming memoir! It’s an incredible story about his life and career. I can’t tell you much more than that. Just know the book is going to be every bit as delicious as Mr. Wilson, his voice and pretty much every song of his that you’ve ever danced to and loved.

And as if writing Uncle Charlie’s memoir wasn’t enough of a high, this happened: “The Vow,” the 2005 novel I wrote with Angela Burt-Murray (former editor-in-chief of Essence and founder of CocoaFab.com) and Mitzi Miller (editor-in-chief of Ebony), is being turned into an original Lifetime movie!

Yes, y’all. It’s like thatathatthat—it’s like that, y’all. And you don’t stop! *hits my B-girl stance*

Gabrielle Union, along with Tracey Edmonds and Sheila Ducksworth, the powerhouse duo behind Soul Food (the film and the TV series) are executive producing the movie, which has been renamed “With This Ring.” The incredible Nzinga Stewart, who penned the script, is directing, and the film stars—get this—Jill Scott, Regina Hall and Eve as the lead characters, and Jason W. George (Grey’s Anatomy), Stephen Bishop (Being Mary Jane), Brian White, Deion Sanders and Brooklyn Sudano (Donna Summers’ baby girl, who starred in My Wife and Kids) as the love interests and supporting cast, and a guest appearance from Gabrielle.

With This Ring Lifetime Movie Set 2

Scenes from the “With This Ring” set. The director, the producers, the stars—all insanely talented, kind and fly as hell.

For real, “With This Ring” is packed with some of the most talented and beautiful people in the business. *squeals*

Here’s what I need you to know: I am grateful to Gabrielle Union, who has been there in support of “The Vow” since its debut. Indeed, she hosted our book launch party way back in 2005, then purchased the rights for the book in 2008, and never once waivered from her commitment to bringing our book to the screen. The same is true of Tracey, Sheila and Nzinga, all of whom stuck with this, through lots of big dreams and broken deals, only to emerge on the other side with a partnership with Sony Pictures and Lifetime. I’ve adored each of them forever—Gabrielle because she’s just badass in every way, as an actress, a producer, an advocate, an intellectual and as a woman, Tracey and Sheila for their commitment to telling our stories in thoughtful, truthful ways, and Nzinga for a clear-eyed vision dedicated to shining the most beautiful light possible on us as a people. Indeed, I’ve been a fan of Nzinga’s from waaaay back, when she was a music video director (Bilal, Common, Eve and more) telling our stories in tasteful, thoughtful ways that stood out from the rest of the muck that debased the images of Black women in particular.

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That’s me on the “With This Ring” set at our trailer, preparing for my cameo as a “bitter woman.”

Here’s the crazy part, though. When I wrote my character in “The Vow,” I did so with one specific person in mind: Jill Scott. No lie. “Vivian” is a single mom and an entertainment journalist who juggles a time-sucking career with the responsibilities that come with being a working mom, and she has a genuine heart with the capacity to love and nurture and truth-tell. She is a down-to-earth woman. A beautiful woman. A normal woman. And when I put those words together, the only person I could see speaking life into Vivian’s words was Jill. Fast-forward almost a decade, and, my God, Jill Scott is starring as Vivian in the film version of “The Vow.” The Universe is something else, isn’t she?

Know, too, that I couldn’t be more pleased that Jason W. George, who is every bit as fine and chocolatey and dreamy in person as he is on screen, is playing “Vivian’s” love interest, “Sean,” and also happens to be a dead-ringer for the “Sean” I based the character on.

Oh WAIT! You didn’t know? I went to the set of “With This Ring,” which is filming in Cincinnati, and saw firsthand our book coming to life. I swear, it was the most surreal experience ever to walk into Vivian’s “apartment” and see her mixing it up with “Sean”; there was my imagination come to life right before my eyes. I can’t lie: I teared up. I did.

Angela, Mitzi and I have cameo appearances in the movie. We don’t have a debut date as of yet, but rest assured knowing that you will be able to find updates here on MyBrownBaby, as well as on Angela’s CocoaFab and all across my social media footprint. Just look for the hashtag #WithThisRing.

In the meantime, I’m so glad to be back on MyBrownBaby duty, bringing you the very best in commentary on parenting and race, my crazy life as a mom and writer, and all the things that matter to Black moms and parents of children of color. Glad to be back!

Photo credit: MyBrownBaby and Nzinga Stewart Instagram pages.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

8 Comments

  1. You know I have a one track mind…where it that blue and black skirt from? Me likey! 😉

    Congrats on everything else! My Brown Baby goes to Hollywood! WhooHoo!!

  2. So happy for you. Congratulations, congratulations to a fabulous and passionate writer.

  3. Congratulations Denene!!! What a dream come true 🙂

  4. I can’t wait! I loved the book and re read it once a year when I need a nice mental vacation. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the date! Congratulations Denene!

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