Award-winning author Angie Thomas There is always a way to speak.Thomas makes his debut as a writer in 2017 the hatred you give, which was then released as a film in 2018. However, a few years before she became a writer, she pursued a career as a rapper. Eventually, Thomas gave up rap, but her passion for hip-hop remained and became the inspiration for her second novel, coming soon. coming soonwhich has also been adapted into a theatrical film and premiered on Paramount+ on September 23, centering on 16-year-old Bri aka Lil Law (Jamila Gray), a talented and aspiring rapper with dreams of becoming the greatest rapper of all time. She also sees rap as a way to provide herself with a better life. Riding with Bri was her mother Jay (Sana Raisen), an ex-addict struggling to stay sober, a gangster aunt who protects her at all costs, and a loyal friend who wants to see her win.
coming soon Marking Lathan’s directorial debut, Rapsody is also on board to help bring Lil Law and the book’s lyrical vision to the screen. The film itself is a unique coming-of-age story, funny, edgy and long overdue.Here, we chat with Sanaa, Lathan, Angie Thomas, Jamila Gray and more about what makes coming soon a book.
BET.com: Tell me about your passion for hip hop and how your previous life as a teenage rapper was inspired coming soon. Is it semi-autobiographical?
Angie Thomas: This is definitely semi-autobiographical. Hip-hop is there for me when I feel like nowhere else in the world is. I keep telling people that as a teenager I hated reading because I couldn’t see myself in a lot of books, but hip hop filled my void. The rapper told the story of what I saw in myself. Rappers have helped me find my voice and pay homage to this culture, so this platform is a blessing to be able to do with this book. Now this movie, Lil Law is similar to me because I want to be a rapper at 16 because I think it’s a way to not only get myself heard, but to get my family out of poverty. I want to show what it’s like to be a young person who’s going through that feeling helpless, but you have this thing and you feel like it’s something that can be used to change everything and how hard you want to get it and how much you want to pay for it s hard work. So I got it 1000%, and that’s Bri’s story.
BET.com: It’s for sure to say that we’re just starting to see more black characters in YA books, and we haven’t really seen a lot of black female protagonists in coming-of-age stories.But some female characters in it coming soon is complex and multi-layered, so talk about the importance of seeing multifaceted black female characters in storytelling.
exist: It’s so important that I would never sit here and say that I represent all black women in everything I do because we have so many different lives, so many different stories, so many different experiences. I just want to reflect some in what I write. Character Bri in particular, I wanted to show this young black girl who is often told by the world that she is too much or not enough. I wanted to find her strength, to find her place, to admit herself, to get her to find the courage to say, “You know what, I’ve had enough,” and I wanted to prove it. But then I also wanted to show the strong women who surrounded her and poured in her because for many of us, it’s our lifeline. We have our mothers, we have our aunts, we have our grandmothers who poured into us and helped us be our women, and I want to respect that, but I also want to show that these women who pour into us have theirs Struggles sometimes. They also have their hardships. They are still growing and learning and making mistakes, which is a wonderful thing because it helps us be who we are. Through Bri’s mom and her aunt, we get to see how she became who we were in our last glimpse. So I’m happy to show those roots.
BET.com: MF Doom is mentioned in the movie, and of course Tupac, because he’s one of your influencers, so, who are your top five, dead or alive?
exist: It’s so hard, but my top five are unconventional. I’m usually not just based on lyrics. I am based on my personal experience. So my top two would be interchangeable, but first would be Tupac, then TLC’s left eye. I have a personal story about the left eye. When I was 14, she spoke to me and said something to me that changed my life. So I will always be grateful to her. So here are my first two. I think everyone knows I love Pac. Parker is my poet. Pac is my storyteller. From there, I had to choose the André 3000 because I’m a southerner. Andre didn’t get enough props. I like Biggie, I would say Method Man and Rapsody because they are in my movie.
BET.com: You grew up in New York and talked about how you met kids from different backgrounds in high school, so you probably came across some Lil Laws.Also, you are love and basketball So you know what it’s like to be in a coming-of-age story, so talk about how elements from your real life made you perfect for your directorial debut.
Sana Ratan: Funny, I even got this. My agent really did his homework and he really introduced my background including music, art and dance. I kind of grew up around New York City during the time when hip hop was born. So that got me in the door, as an artist, you’re always drawing on your own experience. The character I played, Jay, I had a lot of women like that in my family or grew up with them, so I identified with many elements of the movie from my own life.
BET.com: What very necessary role did Rapsody bring to the film?
SL: I know we already have the rhymes that Angie wrote in the book, which is great, but the book came out a few years ago, and I wanted to update it, and I knew I wanted a great emcee who also wrote, So I interviewed several women in the industry, and Rapsody was one of them. I gave her a task. I said, “Get into this fight, do one side, and come back to me.” Not only did she get into that fight, but she liked the other two. She did both sides. She came back with three different options, she came back the next day, and I couldn’t even find another candidate. So I’m lucky with her. She wrote all the fights in the movie, and then when we were in the editing process, I decided it would be great if Bri’s voiceover rhymed. And then Rapsody went on to rewrite all the voiceovers, which I thought was great. So I went to a village.
BET.com: The top five are dead or alive.
SL: Nas, Jay-Z, Kendrick, I like Nikki, Rapsody and Tierra Whack.
BET.com: We rarely see coming-of-age stories like this with a black girl in the lead and an underlying LGBTQ storyline, so talk about the elements of this movie that make it interesting and unique, and what makes you addicted board.
Miles Gutierrez-Riley: The story is incredible. This book is fantastic and Angie Thomas has clearly made such a huge legacy for her. What particularly appeals to me about Sonny is that, as you say, there is nothing overbearing in the way he presents the truth. He is gay. He’s weird. He is proud of it. At the same time, what we’re really focusing on is his positive attitude toward his friends, his loyalty, and how annoying and excessive you can be as a young teen. To me, he just felt like a real and honest person, a real full of energy. He was really having fun.
Michael Cooper Jr.: I think the whole story, like, that’s what I’m drawn to. As an African American, especially in our community, we have faced many traumatic events. So Angie Thomas’ novel is beautiful. If you haven’t read it, please read it. the hatred you give It’s awesome, so just knowing her work, I was instantly drawn to it coming soon And my character, Malik. I mean Malik is just down to earth, he’s charming, he’s genuine. I think we all need a friend to give us a foothold in our lives.
Betting Network: Finally, who are your top five, dead or alive?
manager: It changes with age, but I would say Nas, Flo, Milli, Nicki Minaj, Baby Keem, I have a pretty crazy answer, but recently, I rediscovered Jay-Z’s “Picasso Baby “. That’s a crazy song. I don’t know if Jay-Z is one of the best singers I’ve ever had, but that song is on repeat right now.
MCJ: I’ll have nice things to say about Tupac, Lauryn Hill, I love her, Nicki Minaj, and then I’ve been listening to a lot of Rapsody lately.
BET.com: Did you grow up listening to hip-hop? What was it like to work closely with some of the women involved in this project?
Jamila Gray: Yes, I did grow up listening to hip-hop music. I actually DJ on weekends. I play a lot of hip hop. I have a heavy hip hop background and I love hip hop. This is my entire upbringing. It was great to work with Sanaa because she is very patient. Also working with Sanaa and Rapsody, as Rapsody was instrumental in my development of the character Bri. She created a whole playlist for me to listen to with different artists like Mobb, Deep, Big Pun, Biggie, and a lot of classic hip hop, and Sanaa gave me a lot of inspiration.She sent me this series on YouTube called Lord of the Rings This is where the battle rap comes in. That is a completely different art. She’s very patient as a director and it’s been amazing to see her transform, pause and transform into an actress along the way. This is crazy.
BET.com: Who are your top five, dead or alive?
Marvin Gaye, Erykah Badu. Michael Jackson, Tupac and Drake.
BET.com: Finally, we don’t often see coming-of-age stories led by black women and girls, and women in Bri’s lives are so different and dynamic, so we talk about the importance of multifaceted black female characters.
Jaeger: I think representation is so important and I knew growing up that the person I looked up to was Sana. love and basketball It’s the first time I’ve seen someone who looks like me tell a love story on screen, so it makes me feel good that little girls who look like me will be proud and see themselves on screen. I’m just, I’m happy to be a part of history.