Alexandra Burke’s debut film Pretty Red Dress explores Black Masculinity

Alexandra Burke looking at Red dress - still from film Pretty Red Dress

Pretty Red Dress, Dionne Edwards’ debut film, stars Alexandra Burke in the lead role, and explores black masculinity, liberation and self-expression.

Alexandra plays Candice, alongside Natey Jones who plays her partner Travis, who has just been released from prison, and their teenage daughter, Kenisha, played by newcomer Temilola Olatunbosun.

The film set in South London, shows a family tested to their limit when Travis is found wearing a dress. The dress in question, a short, sassy, sparkling number, is a gift from Travis to Candice for her next audition, her dream role as – rock icon Tina Turner, and ultimately leads to secrets coming to the surface, and a journey to self-discovery.

Newly out of prison, Travis is trying to navigate his new life and work and is unsure of his place at home and within his family circle, forcing him to re-examine who he is and how he wants to be perceived by the world.

Burke said: “The film’s message is also an important one. Especially in the Black community. It’s always a taboo subject to either come out as gay, or to say you have a feminine side – it’s very difficult to be open like that.”

The film, which received its World Premiere at last year’s BFI London Film Festival has been praised for exploring the complexities of gender identity and sexuality, challenging traditional notions of femininity and masculinity, and for questioning why society insists on rigid gender roles.

Edwards said: “I wanted to take an ordinary domestic situation and make it thrilling and cinematic. In the end, I hope we understand the three characters and their motivations more deeply so that we can relate them to our own experiences. I hope audiences will come out feeling looser, freer, and that the film creates room for wider discussions on the idea that we are not one thing. We are so many things”

Pretty Red Dress will be released across UK cinemas from 16 June and there will be a Q&A with the director-writer Dionne Edwards, actors Alexandra Burke and Natey Jones, producer Georgia Goggin and actor Temilola Olatunbosun on Friday 16 June 2023 18:00 at the BFI. You can find out more here. 

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