The girlpies and I saw the trailer for Jem and the Holograms during the previews for Dope, a coming-of-age flick about a brilliant Black boy forced to walk the line between being the smart, quirky, slightly cornball kid that he is and the hip, dangerous dunce everyone else expects him to be. We were excited about Dope, but that Jem trailer had us feigning for something more: a teen movie that speaks directly to the tricky, sticky world girls navigate as they figure out how to be who they truly are, even when it seems everyone else is looking for them to fit into an entirely different mold. And isn’t this the standard for tween and teenage girls—the struggle to… be?
Jem and the Holograms is a take on the cartoon show of the same name from the 80s. I was too old to watch and glom into it back then, but its popularity was palpable and, judging by the fact that it’s now a movie, apparently full of adaptable themes. The movie launches the show’s premise into 2015: Jerrica, a singer, becomes a reluctant rock star with a secret identity after a YouTube video of her performing goes viral. She forms a band with her sisters Kimber (Stefanie Scott), Shana (Aurora Perrineau) and Aja (Hayley Kiyoko), but is forced by an evil record company to go solo, leaving her sisters behind.
There appear to be a number of running themes I’m happy for my daughters to hear again and again: the importance of family, the value of embracing a talent, even and especially when doing so is scary, the weight that comes with being the hero. There’s some outrageous fun, too, with Synergy, a droid created by Jerrica’s deceased dad, which beams heartwarming holograms of a young Jem being schooled on love, happiness and following one’s passions by her loving father.
I can’t imagine that my girlpies, particularly the Taylor Swift-loving, YouTube video obsessed, TV show hostess with the mostest Totally Lila, won’t totally fall in love with Jem and the Holograms and take to painting her face in sparkly hot pink stripes just because. I see it coming. I’m cool with it, too, if the movie inspires her to keep on being her authentic self. I’ve got a couple of hot dates with Totally Lila this weekend: we’ll be in the house at the Atlanta Taylor Swift concert on Saturday, and on Sunday, we’ll top off the weekend with a primo seat at the movies to check out Jem. Yup!
Jem and the Holograms opens today in theaters nationwide. Check out the trailer up top. Buy your Jem and the Holograms tickets here.
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.