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On Sunday, June 29, actress  Gugu Mbatha-Raw and her co-star Nate Parker attended the 2014 BET Awards to promote their new film “Beyond The Lights” out November 14, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Love & Basketball”).

The film tells the story of troubled pop singer named Noni Jean, who is struggling with fame and the pressures of the music industry. She is so distraught, she attempts to commit suicide, but a cop named Kaz Nicol (Nate Parker) saves her life. Minnie Driver plays Noni’s pushy stage mom. Danny Glover also stars in the film and Machine Gun Kelly makes an appearance.

We spoke with the fabulous Gugu Mbatha-Raw about “Beyond The Lights,” in New York while she was promoting “Belle.”


I play a pop star who in the beginning of the film basically wins a grammy award and then tries to throw herself off her hotel balcony, so it’s sort of dealing with the psychological implications of fame and the toxic nature of the music industry and how that can be exploitative for young women when they’re packaged from a very young age, so it’s all issues that I thought were really worth exploring and very contemporary and unlike “Belle,” with the sort of father daughter dynamic, I have a mother daughter dynamic with the momager character played by Minnie Driver in that and like “Belle” as well even though it’s a completely different setting, it definitely explores the issues of identity you know this girl … had her identity in the industry shaped for her and she is able to break free during the course of the film and sort of find her authentic self and so it’s definitely a theme that seems to be running through my work at the moment.

The film is also written by  Gina Prince-Bythewood and produced by Stephanie Allain, Matt Alvarez,  Reggie Rock Bythewood, Ryan Kavanaugh and Marc Ambrose. It is being released by Relativity Media.

Check out photos from the film in the below slideshow: