Sheen Magazine had the pleasure of attending the screening for Praise This, the critically acclaimed film. This movie highlights the woes and wonders of the black experience that is ‘church in Atlanta’. This writer was unabashedly nervous to attend, as ive been a part of that specific community my entire life. And a theme that not only centers the subject, addresses the highs and lows of it, had me skeptical. But after watching the film, I can say its one of the most beautiful and honest expressions of this culture ive ever seen. 

Chloe Bailey plays Samantha, a rebellious young woman from Los Angeles, who goes to stay with her ‘backwards ass’ Atlanta family after her father’s had enough. Sam’s aunt, uncle, and cousin Jessica play host to the main character as she begins to navigate a new life in the South. Jessica(Angelika Washington) is a bright, almost blinding personality with a major love for God, music and Sam. Jess attempts to help Sam get acclimated by giving her a tour of the city, urging her to experience church, and even sneaking to a party behind her parents’ backs. This causes the consequence of Sam having to join the church praise team, where she meets interesting characters played by Druski, Burgundi Baker, and a host of others. In tandem, Sam is also looking to score her big break with the help of a celebrity rapper Ty(Quavo), who she eventually betrays. The story tells an intricate story of the ups and downs of family, the industry, and the sanctuary. 

Now, down to the feels. This story hits all points of emotional strife and the critical message of church. Chloe Bailey’s character is but a vehical to show how the secular and gospel industry intertwine through entertainment, but separate at intention. One of the antagonists Is played by Koryn Hawthorne, who shows how the gospel music industry can skew the view of the goal: to bring people to Christ. I was excited to see Quavo in, yet out of his element. But the deeper message seemed to be that Sam brought Ty to Christ without even trying. Her skepticism, birthed from the death of her mother, was healed by the end of the film, and sealed with an ‘Amen’ that nearly brought me to unexpected tears. Bailey puts on an impeccable performance as Samantha, and has surprisingly awesome comedic timing. This is definitely a movie to watch with the family this weekend! 

Watch Praise This on Peacock!