The “Queen of Hip Hop Soul,” will be the queen of this summer with two new original movies inspired by Mary J. Blige’s biggest hits — Mary J. Blige’s Real Love and Mary J. Blige’s Strength of a Woman, set to premiere on back-to-back Saturdays, beginning June 10 at 8p/7c. The two-pack of movies are headlined by Ajiona Alexus (Empire,13 Reasons Why) and Da’Vinchi (BMF, All American) with Princess Davis, Austin Anozie, Millan Tesfazgi, Shiraine Haas, Garfield Wilson, and Hamza Fouad rounding out the cast and portrays the highs and lows of young Black love.
Mary J. Blige’s 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. Attending on a scholarship, Kendra is determined to focus on school while balancing work study and keeping things professional with Ben (Da’Vinchi), her photo class partner. Despite disapproving parents, financial hardship, and even an unexpected pregnancy, Kendra and Ben find themselves falling hard for each other and ultimately learning the meaning of “Real Love.” Even when Kendra realizes that in order to pursue her dreams, she must leave Ben behind, it’s certain that their story isn’t over…
The story of Kendra and Ben continues in Mary J. Blige’s Strength of a Woman, jumping ahead more than 15 years. Now a successful photographer, Kendra finds herself in a failing marriage and must reckon with the decisions she made for the life she thought she wanted. When Ben unexpectedly comes back into her life, 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 Ben may be offering again.
In support of the content, Lifetime has partnered with Take Back The Night Foundation(R), an international event and non-profit organization with the mission 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.
Helming both movies as executive producers are John Davis and Jordan Davis of Davis Entertainment Jordan recently produced Lifetime’s highly rated film, Love You to Death, inspired by the story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard. Jordan is also a producer on Netflix’s upcoming science-fiction/fantasy film The Uglies, starring Joey King and Laverne Cox. Set to be released this year, development on the project dates back to 2006 as it was a favorite novel of Jordan and her daughter’s. Veteran film, television and award-winning producer John Davis is known for more than 115 top grossing feature films including Jungle Cruise, Predator, Grumpy Old Men, Waterworld and most recently Prey, to name a few.
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. Blige has a proven track record of resonating with Lifetime’s audiences, having previously executive produced Lifetime’s top-rated original movie of 2020, The Clark Sisters: The First Ladies of Gospel alongside fellow EPs Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott. In 2020, The Clark Sisters reached more than 13.9 million Total Viewers1 and was 2020’s #1 original movie on cable.2 Blige also starred as Dr. Betty Shabazz in her first movie role in the Lifetime civil rights biopic Betty & Coretta, with Angela Bassett.
In addition, Mary J. Blige’s Real Love and Mary J. Blige’s 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.