( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Author for “Don’t Waste Your Pretty” Speaks About the Process and Excitement of Creating a Film Based on Book
ENSPIRE Contributor: Octavia Johnson
The film “Don’t Waste Your Pretty,” directed by Deborah Joy Winans, introduces the importance of relationships, including friendships, and therapy within the Black community. The film is based on close-knit friends who turn to one another when jobs, romance, and family interactions complicate their lives. Each character has their fair share of relationship issues, future goals, and obstacles they must face in their personal lives. Despite the challenges, the story ends with a happy ending for everyone. The author of the book that the film is based on, Demetria L. Lucas, speaks after the screening event on pitching the film to TV One.
The characters were diverse in hair, skin tones, and sizes with Keri Hilson as Mykah, Deborah Joy Winans as Jeanné, Redaric Williams as Michael, Jasmine Burke as Aisha, and Kaye Singleton as Amma. “I wanted to have a range of melanin, I wanted to have a range of sizes and TV One was very open and very accommodating,” Lucas said. “I highlighted men who work in the community, do good for the community and bring joy to others.”
The event kicked off with a screening of the film. “Don’t Waste Your Pretty” showcased different types of relationships between the main characters even though Winans (Jeanné) was facing hardships after a divorce, Hilson (Mykah) would rather work than be in a relationship, and Burke (Aisha) and Singleton (Amma) try to come together because they both want a child. Those obstacles didn’t stop them from being with each other. Williams (Michael) even kept a close friendship with the women while developing a loving relationship with Jeanné (he proposes to her at the end of the film).
Lucas said it felt very surreal at this moment to have a film based on her book. “It’s been very, very amazing. I’m very thankful to everyone for seeing my book, for believing in my book, and for turning it into a film.” Lucas was able to pitch the story to TV One through Katrina O’Gilvie, who met with her for lunch as they talked about life, love, relationships, and friendships. O’Gilvie followed Lucas on social media and was able to tie in phrases that Lucas used, within the film’s script.
The film created an engagement towards the audience, mainly the women. Lucas found a way to engage with the audience by acknowledging how different black women are from each other. “I speak with my audience. I don’t speak at them. I don’t speak down to them. Like this is a two-way conversation,” she said.
Lucas chose the title, “Don’t Waste Your Pretty,” because she wanted women to not limit themselves. “When I say pretty, ‘Don’t Waste Your Pretty,’ it’s a euphemism for all of the things that women bring to the table into lives, not just their relationship,” she said. She added, “It’s their intelligence. It’s their hard work. It’s their listening ear. It’s their emotional labor. It’s been their praying hands. It’s all of the things that women specifically offer, often to people who are not so deserving.” She hopes with more women knowing their worth, they will leave a table that is not serving their needs lovingly and respectfully. She even strived for more people to create their table.
“Don’t Waste Your Pretty” premiered on Feb. 28 on TV One. Lucas’s book can be purchased on her website, demetrialucas.com.