What to Watch: The High Note

By Lydia Blanco

The new movie The High Note, featuring Tracee Ellis Ross, Ice Cube, Kelvin Harrison Jr., and Dakota Johnson, is a tale about taking risks and following your dreams. In a virtual sit-down interview, BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke with Ice Cube and Harrison about the importance of finding your voice, doing business with confidence, and what it takes to relentlessly pursue your dreams. 

Written by Flora Greeson, produced Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner; and executive produced by Alexandra Loewy and Nathan Kelly; and directed Nisha Ganatra, The High Note takes place in the world of the Los Angeles music scene. The movie is centered around the story of superstar and diva Grace Davis, played by Ross, who is seeking to remain relevant in an industry that promotes ageism and prefers the next best thing. In the film, Grace’s manager Jack Roberston (Ice Cube) presents her with a choice that could alter the course of her career. Harrison plays Grace’s estranged son David Cliff who is pursuing a music career and finds a way to take center stage with his mother.

In a statement released by Focus Films, Ganatra shared that Ice Cube was the perfect fit for the role. “He’s a businessman who thinks his star should play it safe, and not take too many risks at this point in her career,” she said. “Cube’s mere presence makes the music element really take root. There are few people so strongly associated with Los Angeles’ influential music scene. But Cube is also a fantastic comic actor who makes the most of every last line.”

In the movie, Harrison’s character is in the pursuit of finding his voice and living out loud. He successfully does so after finding a little inspiration. Harrison stars as one of the romantic leads and his relationship ultimately leads him back to his first loves: his mother and music.

The High Note marked the first time Kelvin had a chance to show us all that he is a fantastically talented vocalist. I think his performance in this film is charming, grounded, and truthful. He makes it look easy, but he comes off so great because he works so hard on his craft,” Ganatra said.

During the pandemic, Ganatra hopes that The High Note can bring joy to people.

“I think it’s important to tell stories that emphasize how we all benefit from striving to be our best selves and from coming together to support one another—even if there are stumbling blocks to overcome along the way (and there always are). I also hope that with The High Note, we’ll be able to bring a little additional joy into the world with great performances, a lot of laughs, and some truly unforgettable music. Because nothing buoys the spirits like beautiful songs and laughter,” she concluded.

The High Note premiered on May 29 via On Demand.

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