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It's All About Love
By Lisa R. Foeman

Coming to a television screen near you are feature-length, Black romance films developed by BET Arabesque Films, America’s first Black-owned film studio established to produce theatrical films and television movies from the African-American perspective.

BET Arabesque
Courtesy of BET
Holly Robinson Peete and
Michael Warren in After All

BET Arabesque
Courtesy of BET
Kellie Williams
in After All

The 10 films being produced by BET Arabesque Films are based on Arabesque Books, the first line of original African-American romance novels from a major publishing house, and purchased by BET Holdings, Inc. in 1998. The 10 original made-for-television movies are presented in a variety of genres -- suspense thrillers, dramas, and comedies - and depict multi-faceted, contemporary African-American relationships. Explained Karago, Vice President of Film Development and Production, we selected those books that were “story line and character-driven rather than action and device driven.”

The Arabesque films are a lifeline for Black actors and behind-the-scenes professionals hoping to gain and maintain a foothold in the film industry. Stated Karago, “Part of BET’s mission is to create opportunity for people in front of the camera and behind the camera…. Having a large slate [of films] allows many people to work consistently and therefore practice and hone their craft.” Hollywood talents - Holly Robinson Peete, Phil Morris, Vanessa Williams, Kim Fields, Ron Glass, Cynda Williams - are just several of the Black actors starring in the films.

Four of the 10 films have already been aired, but will probably be re-run, said Karago. They will air twice monthly with the first airing at 10pm/ET and the second at 11pm/ET; check local listings.

The lineup:

BET Arabesque
Courtesy of BET
Wood Harris and Gina
Ravera in Rhapsody

Intimate Betrayal (aired October, 1999): An assertive reporter assigned to cover a very private, multi-millionaire computer wizard gets her story by engaging him in a passionate affair.

Rendezvous (aired November, 1999): A young, beautiful woman trying to stay alive after her mob-connected husband is murdered complicates matters by developing a romance with a successful graphic designer.

After All (airs December 3 and 11, 1999): An ambitious new reporter faces a dilemma: romance or anchorwoman aspirations?

Rhapsody (airs January 7 and 15, 2000): A woman haunts the dreams of a boyfriend who abandoned her to pursue singing stardom.

Masquerade (airs February 4 and 12, 2000): A shy book editor meets her dream man on the Internet and must transform herself into a desirable woman for their first meeting.

Midnight Blue (airs March 3 and 11, 2000): A cosmetics company manager is caught in a battle between the company’s president and her lover - the president’s brother.

Hidden Blessings (airs April 7 and 15, 2000): A woman traumatized by a brutal rape finds a loving relationship with an attorney.

A Private Affair (airs May 5 and 13, 2000): A successful novelist, entangled in family and business problems, must confront her past when she renews a relationship with a jazz musician.

Playing With Fire (airs June 2 and 10, 2000): A computer company executive is the prime suspect in the murder of a stranger in her home. Dangerous secrets involving a disappearance, money, and a lover abound.

Stay tuned - BET plans 10 more Arabesque films for next season. M

December 1999

 

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