Sunday, May 09th

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B.Couleur Exclusive: Producer Tracey E. Edmonds Speaks On Why Jumping The Broom Was Important to Make


Tracey E. Edmonds, President of Our Stories Films gives audiences a positive portrayal of black men with 'Jumping the Broom'.

Jumping the Broom, which made its theatrical debut over Mother’s Day weekend, had an astounding opening, grossing an estimated $13.7 million and coming in No. 3 at the box office.  The comedy, which stars Paula Patton, Angela Bassett, Laz Alonzo and Loretta Devine, cost less than $7 million to produce. However, Tracey E. Edmonds, President of Our Stories Films never doubted the film’s success.  "Jumping the Broom"’s overall message about family and love and the positive portrayal of African American men was sure to be a winner.

"Jumping the Broom,"  which premiered Friday, highlights positive portrayals and gives audiences the opportunity to enjoy depictions of black men who truly love and respect their women--a perfect message for the holiday weekend in which mothers are celebrated.

“In producing this film, we set out to really make a very smart, classy, and uplifting film that African Americans can be proud of, and we wanted to create a positive film for the African American community.  We wanted to show African American men really loving their women, because there are so many films that have showcased men in a very degrading, dark and negative light.  There are some really good African American men out there,” said Edmonds. Our Story Films is an entity created by BET founder Robert L. Johnson. The production company was established in 2006 and has been deemed the first African American-owned film studio where creative works are acknowledged by people of color. “We believe that this film has a lot of great elements--it’s funny, it’s emotional, it’s a universal story that’s smart and has strong performances with beautiful visuals,” Edmonds said.

Under her production and leadership, "Jumping the Broom" explores the challenges of family politics and what takes place behind the scenes of all the planning, invitations, and cake tasting and gown fittings. Concept: The two families of the bride and groom, who come from two completely different socioeconomic backgrounds, are meeting for the first time during the course of the wedding weekend. There's one big problem: the families don't get along. “It explores the challenges of merging two families together and explores the test of whether a couple in love can survive those family politics,” said Edmonds.

With an all-star cast that includes Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Paula Patton and Laz Alonzo, the film follows two relationships—the bride and groom's and the bride’s mother’s relationship with her husband. Edmonds wanted to create a heartwarming story that people could relate to, and she drew on personal experience. “For me, having been through the challenges of family dynamics and wedding politics now twice in my life, I’ve always wanted to do a film that really explores these issues in a smart and comedic way; because I think that anybody that’s been through this, we know that marriage is the union of two families. I’ve been through that in the past and there’s a lot of me actually in our bride’s character,” she said.

There’s a lot of tenacity in Emonds.  After graduating from Stanford University at 20 with a degree in psychobiology, Edmonds didn’t think that her life path was going to take her in the direction of the entertainment industry. While in college on scholarship, she worked two jobs—one as a waitress, and the other on campus as a researcher in the psychology department. “I was always fascinated by the human mind, and either I was going to be a psychologist or psychiatrist,” Edmonds said.

After starting her own real estate and mortgage company, she met Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter/producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds when she was 22. “That set my life in a different direction, and when I met him, I was introduced to the entertainment industry. The deeper we got into our relationship, the deeper I got into the entertainment industry and I ended up switching career paths. I went from psychiatrist to real estate broker to then music entrepreneur with starting a music publishing company, a record label to music supervising films and now producing films. I think God had a different direction for me than what I had set out to do,” Edmonds chuckled.

With much success under her belt, including creating Edmonds Entertainment Group, which produced "Soul Food," the 1997 hit film and subsequent Showtime cable program that epitomizes the significance of familial ties, and countless other groundbreaking projects, Edmonds said of her staying power in the industry, “I have very thick skin. I don’t let people tell me no [or] discourage me. There is a lot of networking, a lot of time that you have to put in with this industry and let go of ego. if you have to take on a partner that can contribute, do it. You learn from your mistakes and you learn the elements that you need,” Edmonds said.

‘Jumping the Broom’ is in theaters now.


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