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The Rock Leads The Summer of African American Takeover on the The Small Screen With ‘Ballers’ Premiere



By Sonia Montalvo

This summer, television will heat up with new shows starring Black actors. Ballers, which stars Dwayne Johnson, will premiere on HBO this Sunday, June 21.

The plot follows Spencer Strasmore, a retired football player down on his luck and money. Spencer (played by Johnson) joins a financial management team to keep up with his lifestyle, and his clients happen to be his former teammates from the league (played by Omar Miller, John David Washington and Donovan Carter). His former teammates also have problems of their own, whether they be social or financial.

So far, the series has garnered mixed reviews. Indie Wire’s Kevin Jagernauth gave the show a C-minus, saying, “Everything is impeccable and shiny in Ballers, from the custom tailored suits Ricky wears to the fancy homes and cars of the multi-millionaire players. But if only that kind of surface attention and care was put into the plotlines.”

The Gazette, however, gave the dramedy a B-plus, and said, “Ballers is pure escapist fandom without the consequences. Nothing bad happens to your favorite team in this fictional world and the series addresses so many of the off the field issues that sports aficionados gobble up—groupies, hostile fans, sycophants, money and fame.”

However, fresh African Americans roles aren’t limited to new television series. There are also a few television movies with Black casts set to premiere this season. TV One will air a new original film, Will to Love, Will-to-Love-Marques-Houston-and-Draya-Michelestarring Marques Houston, Keisha Knight Pulliam, and Basketball Wives LA star, Draya Michele. Houston, plays Jamal Hawkins, a young bachelor who must find love within 90 days in order to inherit his grandfather’s toilet paper company and fortune.

Pulliam, who plays Jamal’s secretary Rachel, helps him audition possible brides to assist him in becoming the rightful heir to his grandfather’s wealth.

Will to Love also features Black Thomas, Gary Sturgis and Valerie Pettiford. The film will air on TV One on Saturday, June 27.

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