Channing Godfrey Peoples’ makes her directorial feature debut with her film Miss Juneteenth, a charming look into the struggles of Black women as they persevere through hardship to find peace. While at times the film struggles to find its pacing, the heartfelt performances from Nicole Beharie and Alexis Chikaeze keeps the audience invested until the very end.
Beharie plays Turquoise Jones, a hard working single mother, who works at a BBQ joint and at a funeral home trying to make ends meet for herself and her daughter Kai (Alexis Chikaeze). She is determined to make sure her daughter does something extraordinary with her life, so she enlists her into the town’s annual Miss Juneteenth competition. Turquoise is a former winner of the Miss Juneteenth pageant, but due to an unplanned pregnancy, she wasn’t able to leave Fort Worth and start the life she always dreamed of. Instead she is living her dream through her daughter Kai—who isn’t too keen on participating, and doesn’t quite realize how one pageant can change the trajectory of her life.
Channing Godfrey Peoples’ Miss Juneteenth is a beautiful exploration into the dreams we have for our children and the lengths we go to make sure they are realized. Beharie delivers a phenomenal performance as her character explores the regrets of her life choices while also showing how Black women continue to overcome no matter what life brings their way. Peoples delivers a promising debut that will leave many excited to see what is next in her bright career.