Nick Cannon has announced that he is officially producing and acting in the sequel to Drumline, "tentatively titled" Drumline: A New Beat. Depending on who you are, this is either great or very tragic news.
Deadline reports that the project is the next original movie from VH1, following up their hit CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story. While Cannon will play Devon Miles yet again, this movie is not a "traditional sequel," in that it will not take place at the same school and will star a woman (though her character, like Miles, is also from Brooklyn). Cannon's decision to continue the legacy that is Drumline is clearly divisive, however; here are two takes on the prospect of more Drumline in the world.
The arguments for a Drumline sequel are numerous. Actor GQ who plays Jayson, the struggling white drummer who just wants to make the marching band, is definitely not working enough and should be back for the new movie. On the topic of Jayson, what other opportunity will Nick Cannon have to demonstrate that he can teach the youths of today important life lessons like how to play your drum like you're making loooove to a woman?
Aside from GQ, there are many fine performances in this film. The tender, slow-blooming love between Ernest and Diedre is something to marvel at. Zoe Saldana appears, as she existed before Avatar. A stern Orlando Jones stern-faces his way around. Petey Pablo is there, back when he was relevant. Speaking of Petey Pablo, the music! Without Drumline, movies like Step Up would never be made and the world would be a worse off place. Yes, Step Up didn't need multiple sequels after it but the second one is pretty okay and Drumline: A New Beat (GREAT title) has a good shot of being pretty okay too.
Lastly, TNT KNOWS DRAMA and they need a new movie to add to their repertoire, since they can only air the original Drumline so many times. Plus, FEMINISM: "Dani's quest to become the first female section leader of the drumline in the school's history will be hampered by upperclassmen (including her cousin, Tyree); her feelings for fellow band mate and rival, Jayven; and the school's crosstown rivals."
I'm a hater. The original was mediocre at best and that's with Zoe Saldana (who's a great actress who improves any project in which she appears). In the film, there is trite drama surrounding a kid with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove through the clanging of his drum. Of course, there's a dude in the band who becomes his nemesis and they fight it out through music like the break dancing fights of Breakin' 2. Sounds like a cute little coming of age story, right? Not really. Drumline was essentially a chance to capitalize on awesome black college and university band culture and its niche popularity with a flimsy storyline.
Look, I support using Hollywood's sheen to make attending black colleges popular again. Remember the glory of A Different World? Hell, even Howard University needs help with its bottom line these days. But can the next Drumline be good and not an exercise in "How can we make money from a film that work over ten years ago instead of creating something new of value?" I respect Cannon and his professional success (not to mention, those twins are adorable) but I vote no on Drumline: A New Beat. Though I do concede that the world is a better place thanks to Step Up because Channing Tatum is a gift to the world. But when's the last time you thanked God un-ironically for Drumline? Never, that's when.
Image via 20th Century Fox