Set in 1963, the film revolves around Melody Ellison, an African-American girl living in Detroit, Michigan with her mother Frances and her grandfather Frank. Early on she and her family faced racial inequality in their hometown, whether being bullied at school with a white student named Donald along with his friends for her ethnicity, or be wrongfully accused of shoplifting at a clothing store where Melody's mother works.
A turning point for Melody was when a fellow student expressed her intention of moving to another school out of fear for being discriminated, and when news about the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing was aired on television, making her question the Pledge of Allegiance and consider moving to a school at her neighborhood. Fearing that a similar bombing would happen at the chapel where Melody's family attend mass in, Melody tries to convince her mother not to perform at a fundraising concert for the Birmingham victims; Frances reassures her, and sees hope in her daughter. Melody puts her creative skill at clothing design to good use, upcycling an old garment into a shawl for her mother to wear at her piano performance.
At church she meets her teacher Miss Abbot, who brought the other students along as part of a field trip. Donald walks out as he refuses to take Melody along; Melody's best friend Tricia volunteers to accompany her instead. The concert takes place as planned, and Melody and the rest of the churchgoers then perform Lift Every Voice and Sing. The film ends with Melody and her mother being given an applause for their performance. A short tribute to the four young victims of the Birmingham bombing appears in a post-credits sequence.
- Marsai Martin as Melody Ellison
- Idara Victor as Frances Ellison
- Frances Fisher as Miss Abbot
- Frankie Faison as Frank Ellison
- Garrett McQuaid as Donald
- Dara Iruka as Lorraine
- Lola Wayne Villa as Trish
- Matthew Foster as Principal Davis
- Briana Lane as Sales Clerk aka Val
- Chuck McCollum as Store Manager
- Rocky McMurray as Mr. Schuler
- Daija Bickham as Neighborhood Girl #1
- Skyelar Wesley as Neighborhood Girl #2
- Libby Ewing as Mother in Store
- Joelle Better as Daughter in Store
The movie was released on Amazon Prime Video on October 21, 2016.
Items Associated With the Movie
- Garrett McQuaid's character was originally named Douglas, but Tara Sorenson, the head of Amazon Studios, mistakenly read the name as Donald when reading Alison McDonald's script.
- ↑ While the Deadline Hollywood article mentions Frankie Faison's role as Melody's grandfather Frank Ellison, it is not known if this is an original character or if the character is intended to be Frank Porter.
- ↑ 'American Girl' dresses down racist 'Donald' in new Amazon film, nydailynews.com, accessed October 26, 2016.