Erykah Badu They Die By Dawn [official poster art by Jules Arthur]

As threatened, Okayplayer had the opportunity this weekend  to attend the SXSW screening of Jeymes Samuel’s star-studded new short film They Die By Dawn. A true premiere, the impressive cast–comprising Erykah Badu, Isaiah Washington, Nate Parker, Jessie Williams and The Wire alumni Idris Elba, Michael K. Willams and Felicia Pearson (AKA Snoop)–arrived together at Viceland where they gathered with a small group of some 200 fans and press to watch the edited movie for the very first time, many bugging to see the film’s beautiful poster art by Jules Arthur (see above, A Pass The Popcorn exclusive! ) for the first time as well. Spirits were high. Isaiah Washington seems to not have ever stopped smoking a cigar, just as he does in the movie. Always animated, Jeymes Samuel–wearing a Louis Vuitton shawl and noting that his hair was braided that day, preventing him from sporting his trademark wildman blow-out–was beyond amped to introduce the film and cast.

The movie was stone cold excellent. Although listening was sometimes difficult due to the sheer exuberance of the cast, who hollered and catcalled at jokes both onscreen and private, the exquisite score punctuated dramatically with eruptions of loud gun fire still shone through. The cinematography was beautiful, thanks to DP Rodney Charters and his crew–who are noted to have DPed all 8 seasons of 24. Badu was flawless, supported by a truly incredible cast. How did the mysterious man behind The Bullitts manage to assemble such a dream team? Okayplayer got the exclusive interview access to ask just this question (and much more, check this space soon for the full interviews)–we even got to build with Rodney. Erykah, Jeymes and Michael K. Williams we already knew of course, but turns out Isaiah is a dedicated Okayplayer head, too. Who knew?

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  • Sabrina Denise Whiteman

    Definitely looking forward to this!!