BET’s Movie of the Week, Miss Juneteenth, is a story about mothering, living through regret and what it really means to find one’s voice as a young Black woman trapped in the shadow of parental expectation. Set to premiere this week on Thanksgiving Day (November 26), this critically-acclaimed film chronicles the life of Turquoise Jones — a single mom that believes her greatest accomplishment is being crowned Miss Juneteenth during her glory years.
While not as known as other popular pageant crowns, Miss Juneteenth bears the spirit of the millions of ancestors who were freed from American enslavement (albeit two years after the Emancipation Proclamation). Played by actress Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow, Black Mirror), Jones makes it a point that her own daughter will continue the legacy that she started years before by reclaiming the crown…even if she doesn’t want it.
The film is the directorial debut of Channing Godfrey Peoples and explores the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters but is able to avoid the cliché tropes that can often overcome these adversarial familial dynamics.
“As a girl growing up in Texas, I marveled at the annual Miss Juneteenth winner gliding across the stage with hope on her face,” Godfrey Peoples told ET. “Before I understood the significance of the pageant and its purpose of instilling pride and self-worth in the ladies who were crowned its winner, I was fascinated by the pageantry: its contestants were young, hopeful African-American women.”
“Miss Juneteenth is a movie about dreams deferred,” she explains. “I am so honored to be able to make this film about a woman who is the legacy of those ancestors, desperately looking for a way to make a better future for her daughter.”
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Critic Lovia Gyarkey from the New York Times says, “The movie tackles multitudinous themes in its roughly 100 minutes, from the significance of Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, to the legacy of racism in predatory bank lending practices. But what’s most impressive is the amount of space Peoples’s Black female characters inhabit in the narrative.”
Miss Juneteenth debuts on BET and BET Her on Thursday, November 26 at 8 PM EST/ PST.