Originally Published: 06 APR 23 11:02 ET
Updated: 07 APR 23 10:54 ET
By Lisa Respers France, CNN
(CNN) — Chloe Bailey is feeling blessed by her latest project, “Praise This.”
In the new film, Bailey plays Sam, an aspiring, young singer who must join her cousin’s struggling, praise team in the lead-up to a national competition.
The role feels tailor-made for Bailey, one half of the sibling singing duo Chlöe x Halle.
“It’s my first movie I’ve stared in, so to be able to do it with my love of music and God all combined, it’s s been pretty cool and I’m so grateful,” Bailey told CNN.
The “Grown-ish” star recently stirred conversation for her appearance the Prime drama “Swarm.” But her latest role finds Bailey in a film centered in a message of faith.
Producer Will Packer told CNN he viewed this project similarly to his 2007 film, “Stomp The Yard.”
“‘Stomp the Yard,’ while masquerading as a dance movie, was really about telling the story of Black colleges and fraternity and sororities at Black colleges, which was a world I knew well,” he said. “I have an affinity for the church and faith-based stories. Whether you’re somebody that doesn’t even know praise teams exist, I wanted to draw you into this world and then tell this story of a young girl who’s trying to find her voice, who’s trying to find her connection with her spirituality when she feels like she’s lost.”
Packer said he had Bailey in mind for the lead role from the start.
“She reminds me of Beyoncé. And by that I mean, not in the ways that other people have compared and other people think about, you know, her and Beyoncé as singers and actresses,” he explained. “I mean in terms of her work ethic. Chloe works very hard. You’re not gonna outwork her.”
That makes sense given that Bailey and her sister, who is set to star in the live-action “Little Mermaid” film being released in May,” are protégés of Beyoncé.
Anjelika Washington, who costars in “Praise This” as Sam’s “sister cousin” Jess, told CNN she hopes the film will inspire audiences to be kind to one another.
“I hope that people remember to just love people,” Washington said. “That’s the greatest command of all, so I hope that people have an open mind for everything.”
“I truly believe that God accepts us in every shape and form, and we should come exactly as we are,” Bailey said. “(The movie) shows that in such a positive light with comedy, and I hope audiences love it.”
Director Tina Gordon also has high hopes for “Praise This” and other projects like it.
“I’m hoping that family-based projects, faith-based projects have a bigger and bigger home in Hollywood,” she said. “I actually think community is very important and entertainment that sort of fosters family, that multi-generations can watch together. We definitely learned that people want that over the last couple years.”
“Praise This” also costars Druski, along with Grammy-nominated artists Quavo and Tristan Mack Wilds.
“Praise This” debuts on April 7 streams on Peacock.
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