Nick along with the cast of Drumline: A New Beat spoke exclusively with EBONY magazine on the importance of the original film and how it hopes to resurge that significance with the sequel.
Twelve years after Drumline grossed over $56 million at the box office, VH1’s Drumline: A New Beat looks to revive the big screen classic and reinvigorate the Black collegiate nostalgia of A Different World and School Daze. Premiering on VH1 Monday, October 27 at 9 ET/PT, Drumline: A New Beat will capture the original’s sound and spirit, while welcoming a new class to Atlanta A&T University’s drumline.
Nick Cannon serves as executive producer of the film, reprising the role of Devon Miles in a cameo appearance. Leonard Roberts also returns as Sean Taylor, Devon’s former adversary and Atlanta A&T’s present band director. LeToya Luckett joins the cast this time around as Dr. Nia Phillips, a dean at Atlanta A&T, as does Alexandra Shipp, who plays the film’s star, Danielle “Dani” Bolton.
The cast recently assembled in Atlanta to speak with EBONY.com about the long-awaited sequel.
EBONY: Why tell this story again? Why Drumline: A New Beat?
Nick Cannon: We created a classic tale the first time around, but that HBCU experience just isn’t on television. It hasn’t been told that much on film except for School Daze and it hasn’t been told on television since A Different World. So to bring this one straight to VH1, my ultimate goal is to be able turn the television movie into the television series. Based on the ratings and the response, this storyline will turn into an ongoing storyline similarly to the way VH1 did Single Ladies.
EBONY: A Different World and School Daze inspired a generation of students to attend HBCUs. Did you receive that response to the 2002 release of Drumline, and do you anticipate a similar response to Drumline: A New Beat?
NC: Absolutely! To this day, so many people tell me they wanted to go to an HBCU because of this film, and even wanted to go to college in general—be a musician, a drummer. In a lot of cultures before this movie came out, to be in the marching band was corny. This film made that cool. It allowed a lot of people to embrace it and thrive in it.
EBONY: You return in a cameo appearance. Is Devon Miles still the cocky, arrogant kid that we know? Does he still have the girl? Has he matured?
NC: Yeah, absolutely. People don’t understand that a lot of this story was loosely based on [producer] Dallas Austin’s life. So Devon is now one of the most successful producers in the music game. He married Laila. He actually turned out pretty well. He has his happily ever after.
Check out Ebony.com for the full interview with the rest of the cast.
Drumline: A New Beat premieres Monday, Oct. 27 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on VH1.