Written by | Ray Cornelius 

A special Atlanta screening of the Patrik Ian-Polk’s new coming-of-age film, “Blackbird,” was held Tuesday night at the historic Midtown Arts Cinema. The screening was co-presented by RLJ Entertainment and Urban Movie Channel and was hosted by V-103’s midday radio personality Ramona Debreaux.

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Many of the film’s stars were in attendance including Oscar-winning actress and executive producer of the project, Mo’Nique along with her husband and executive producer Sidney Hicks, D. Woods, Torrey Laamar, and Nikkie Jane.

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“Blackbird” tells the story of Randy (Julian Walker), a talented teenage singer and aspiring actor who’s struggling with religion, sexuality, a troubled home life and other high school woes in a small Southern Baptist town. It’s a journey that ultimately leads to him to love and acceptance. Mo’Nique plays Randy’s overberring mother along with Isaiah Washington as his father. “Blackbird”  is based on Larry Duplechan‘s 1986 book of the same name.

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Following the screening, Mo’Nique and the rest of the cast took part in a Q&A session with the audience where they talked about making the film. Mo’Nique also revealed why she had to be apart of the project and why the film is a reflection of the times.

 “Were getting to a place where people just want to be free. People just want to be accepted. People just want to stop apologizing. We want to stop having to make an announcement. I’ve never had to go anywhere a say, ‘I want to let y’all know ‘m a heterosexual!’ I’ve never had to do that.”

Mo’Nique later went on to say that this film is part of  a ‘Gay Turn’ where the rights and privileges of the LGBT community are no longer ignored but are accepted by mainstream America. She hopes the film will also spark constructive conversation in communities that will ultimately lead to acceptance and understanding.

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Special invited guests included Rodney Perry, Dr. Heavenly KimesGary With Tha Tea, Meelah WilliamsBobby V,  Melissa KnowlesTone X, Funky Dineva and more.

Take a look at more photos below:

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 Mo’Nique with Sidney Hicks

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D. Woods with Torrey Laamar

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Sidney Hicks, Mo’Nique, Torrey Laamar, D. Wood and Nikkie Jane

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 Mo’Nique and Sidney Hicks with Dr. Heavenly Kimes from “Married to Medicine”

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Mo’Nique and Sidney Hicks with V-103’s Ramona Debreaux

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 Mo’Nique sharing a moment with Nikkie Jane

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 Bobby V

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Meelah Williams

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Mo’Nique and Sidney Hicks with Gary With Tha Tea

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 D. Woods signing the film’s poster

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Mo’Nique and Sidney Hicks are executive producers of the film

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RC with Mo’Nique

“Blackbird” opens in theaters nationwide April 24

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com