Cast members, friends and special guests Sean “Diddy” Combs and Jamie Foxx gathered at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood on Monday night for the premiere of “Brotherly Love,” a West Philly-set love story executive produced by Queen Latifah.
Keke Palmer stars in the drama about a family struggling to make major life decisions after the death of its patriarch. Palmer plays Jackie, an aspiring musician trying to navigate her budding career and her tumultuous relationship with her boyfriend, while her brother Sergio (Eric D. Hill Jr.) is the nation’s number one high school basketball player confronting the pressures of fame.
“I felt like my generation never had a film that depicts teen life in a very authentic way,” Palmer said, emphasizing that the film allows for “really experiencing the subjects of sex, violence, poverty — all the things that go with coming of age.”
Palmer’s point was reiterated by co-star Quincy Brown. “My generation is definitely ready for something new to lay it out,” he said. “This is kind of like a new-day-and-age ‘Boyz n the Hood.’”
Diddy kicked things off with an introduction, standing in for Latifah who was away filming a feature, and also in attendance were Tyrese Gibson, Tatyana Ali and Tia Mowry, whose husband Cory Hardrict stars in the film.
“It’s very relatable,” Hardrict (“American Sniper”) said of the storyline. “It’s not just a black film; it’s all about choices and family.”
Hill Jr., who plays Hardrict’s character’s athletic younger brother, is a basketball player himself, and was thrilled to bring aspects of his life to the big screen.
“It was an opportunity to shed light on those individuals who come from an environment where there’s a lot of pre-judgment, (and) to help the paradigm shift,” Hill said. “I’m sorry, and I hate to bring up the race card, but there’s a movement in black culture and television. This really helps make sure that our stories are being told by us.”
Nafessa Williams, another star of the film, lightened the mood by discussing the process of shooting in her hometown of Philadelphia. Williams said the rest of the cast and crew would ask her to recommend local cuisine. “I was like, ‘Oh, okay, I know where to get the cheesesteaks from!’” she joked.
“Brotherly Love” was written and directed by newcomer Jamal Hill. It bows in theaters April 24.
(Pictured: Keke Palmer and Jamie Foxx at the “Brotherly Love” premiere)