42 Movie: My View from the Red Carpet

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This week, I went to Los Angeles for the first time ever, and I have to say, it would be difficult to beat this first impression. Why? Because I went there to attend the premiere of the new Jackie Robinson movie, 42, as a red carpet correspondent for Walmart!

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Walmart is a platinum sponsor of the movie, which means that their involvement went far beyond just the premiere. There’s also the Walmart “42” field refurbishment program, a partnership between Walmart, Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, Scotts, the Ball Park brand and the Jerry Clark Foundation. Walmart selected ballparks in need of refurbishment in Orlando, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Bentonville, Ark., each designated to receive a long overdue makeover designed to encourage young players. At each event, kids from the respective communities had the opportunity to participate in a baseball clinic, interact with local MLB players, and community leaders. As a result of Walmart’s sponsorship, we were invited to the press line with all the major news organizations to interview the stars as they walked in. Quite literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me.

To put this into perspective, a year ago, I never would’ve accepted the offer. I would’ve allowed my fear of being in front of the camera and messing everything up get the best of me, and I would’ve declined. But boy, am I glad I said yes!

Joining me on the red carpet was Erika Brown of Chic Shopper Chic, and I am so thankful to her for sharing her own red carpet experience and making me feel at ease.

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We were tasked with interviewing the cast, including Chadwick Boseman (Jackie Robinson), Harrison Ford (Branch Rickey), Nicole Beharie (Rachel Robinson), and many others. We spent the days and hours before the event preparing questions for the cast and (gasp) actually trying to remember what to ask each person. And then there’s the little fact that you’re talking to celebrities right next to journalists who do it for a living. Talk about intimidating!

Erika studying her questions while waited to be let onto the press line.

Erika studying her questions while waited to be let onto the press line.

The red carpet environment is a bit nuts, with press lined up alongside trying to get everyone’s attention. This means that we missed some of the stars we wanted to get, but Erika did manage to snag Harrison Ford:

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And I got to speak to the movie’s producer, Thomas Tull.

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Tull is most famous for his superhero movies and the Hangover franchise, so I was curious about what made him decide to make a period movie. When I asked why he thought it was important to tell Jackie Robinson’s story now, he said that he had spoken to a group of kids who played baseball, and very few of them had any idea who Robinson was. Let that sink in. The idea that children of any color — but particularly black children — could be playing baseball and have no knowledge of the man who made it possible for everyone to have major league dreams is insane! Tull wanted to tell Robinson’s story on the big screen so we never forget his legacy.

Oh. And did I mention I also spoke to Laila Ali? And she told me I was pretty? And when I tweeted about it with a photo, she responded? Yeah. That happened.

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Check out this video of our red carpet experience, all of which was filmed:

I’m so proud of myself!

And as an inside bonus that probably only mattered to me, everything I wore to the premiere was thrifted — including my necklace and shoes (my trusty BCBG ankle-strap flats).

But that was just the beginning. Next, we got to actually watch the premiere. Honestly, the movie is a must-see. As a black woman who knew Jackie Robinson’s story, it was incredibly powerful to see it come to life on the screen.

Jackie is a hero by every stretch of the imagination, and the amount of resolve it took to break the color line in baseball without losing his temper is a strength that most of us likely do not possess. So it’s easy to understand why the number 42 is the ONLY number in all of baseball that has been universally retired. As in no one, on any team, can ever wear the number 42. Except for each April, when every player on every team wears 42 in homage to Jackie Robinson.

Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson. Photo from 42movie.warnerbros.com

Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson. Photo from 42movie.warnerbros.com

I will be taking my family to see the film, which will be in theaters tomorrow, and recommending that my extended family and friends see it too. It is a slice of American history that all of us — especially kids who have less experience with blatant racism — can stand to remember.

At times, the movie made me cringe (Caution: The N word is used throughout, and though it makes complete sense in this context, it may require some explaining to children), it made me laugh, it made me cheer, it made me teary-eyed. But more than anything else, it made me thankful that change is possible, no matter how unlikely or difficult it may seem. No matter how many naysayers you have to ignore in the process and how many times you have to swallow your pride.

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And after you see the film, if you’re as inspired as I am, you can celebrate by heading to Walmart for a t-shirt to commemorate the event in one of these great graphic prints.

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This is the type of movie I’ll definitely buy on DVD so we can watch it as a family, talk about the issues it tackles, and use it as a teaching tool for my daughter. I am so thankful that I got to experience a real Hollywood premiere and find out from the producer and cast why this is an important story for everyone.

For more photos of the event, check out the Green & Gorgeous Facebook page.

DISCLOSURE: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received travel and accommodations, as well as compensation for my time and efforts for the trip and for in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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20 responses
  • Renee J. Ross April 11, 2013, 5:26 pm

    Girl, tears! I am so VERY PROUD OF YOU! And so glad that this was your first experience in front of the camera because everything after this will be a piece of cake! I can’t say it enough, I am SO PROUD! I feel like my little bird has left the nest! 🙂 You looked gorgeous!

    Reply
    • jennae April 12, 2013, 1:28 pm

      Thanks Renee! I’m really proud of myself for having the guts to step out and do this. I feel like a HUGE weight is lifted off my shoulders, and a little silly for picking up that imaginary weight in the first place 🙂

      Reply
  • Windy City Mama April 11, 2013, 11:21 pm

    That’s an awesome experience! Glad you stepped into and you look beautiful! Love the red.

    Reply
    • jennae April 12, 2013, 1:29 pm

      Thank you so much! I appreciate it!

      Reply
  • Sheena Tatum April 12, 2013, 12:20 am

    Girl, you hide nervousness VERY well. You did such an amazing job. I’m so proud of your growth!!!

    Reply
    • jennae April 12, 2013, 1:30 pm

      Sheena, it really wasn’t bad at all once we got started. It all happened so fast that I didn’t really have time to be nervous after the first interview 🙂 So glad I said yes!

      Reply
      • Sheena April 18, 2013, 2:58 am

        Hahaha, I love when that happens. I wish there was a switch to shut off that part of the brain that entertains panic, lol.

        Reply
  • Shon April 12, 2013, 1:06 pm

    Way to go!! You looked like you rock the carpet every weekend!! Your looked so confident and gorgeous. This is such an amazing gift!! I am so very excited for you and your family. Congratulations on so many levels, namely, conquering your fears of the past and accepting the assignment!!

    I love this story and can’t wait to see it. My husband grew up playing the game in none other than the city of Los Angeles, and his father played some in the Negro Leagues’, smaller teams growing up in Louisiana. It is a sad state of events to know that our young kids of any ethnicity have no idea about our legacy and past contributions of Mr. Robinson and so many others. This is a great reminder that we need to make sure that we share this with our son as he continues to build his athletic repertoire.

    Thanks again and by the way I know of Renee your first commenter, via Black Girls Run and the Run Wifey Run blog. LOL It is a small bloggy neighborhood isn’t??

    Reply
    • jennae April 12, 2013, 2:15 pm

      Thanks Shon! I promise you, I agonized over what to wear, what to say, whether to get my makeup done (because I NEVER wear makeup), how to hold the mic, all of it…lol. I’m glad the final video and pics don’t show the nerves 🙂

      And that’s an awesome story about your family’s connection to the Negro League! You will definitely enjoy the movie as a family.

      Reply
  • Christina Steward April 12, 2013, 11:25 pm

    What an exciting opportunity Jennae! So happy that you got to experience this! And Laila Ali is right, you ARE pretty! 🙂

    Reply
    • jennae April 19, 2013, 9:16 pm

      Awww…thank you Christina! And here I go with the blushing again 🙂

      Reply
  • Lori April 15, 2013, 1:51 pm

    You looked great and did a fantastic job but what I love most, is that your post reflects your enthusiasm for both the event and movie! I definitely want to see the movie now!

    Reply
    • jennae April 19, 2013, 9:17 pm

      Thanks Lori! I was a ball of nerves, but it was ridiculously exciting to have a front row seat to all of it 🙂

      Reply
  • Shelly April 15, 2013, 6:48 pm

    LOOK AT YOU!! You surely looked very confident and congratulations on your success! What a wonderful experience and I tell you what, you look like a pro out there. You have every reason to be proud! Awesome photographs, BTW 🙂

    Reply
    • jennae April 19, 2013, 9:19 pm

      Thanks Shelly! Maybe I’ll get to do more stuff like this now that I’ve gotten my first time out of the way. Only time will tell 😉

      Reply
  • Ana April 16, 2013, 2:49 am

    What an awesome experience. YOU LOOKED BEAUTIFUL.

    http://sweetserendipitydesign.blogspot.com/2013/04/office-makeover.html

    Reply
  • chandra April 17, 2013, 11:24 am

    i can officially say that “i know” a superstar! i am so excited and proud that you took a leap and went outside of your comfort zone as this truly is a great example to your daughter (and to us all). not to mention the tweet out from laila…i think i would have that up in a frame, lol! the skies the limit and i hope this opportunity will just continue to open doors and lead to many more;)

    Reply
    • jennae April 19, 2013, 9:23 pm

      Hahahaha! I’m hardly a superstar, but I’m working on it…lol. Thank you so much for your kind words (and the ego boost ;))!

      Reply
  • Onica (MommyFactor) April 21, 2013, 8:03 am

    You did a great job and looked awesome while doing it. 🙂 How cool you met and spoke with celebrities. I’ve met Laila Ali and yes she’s so real and engaging. Love that she tweeted you 🙂

    Reply

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