Antwan André Patton, better known as Big Boi, plays Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. in TV One’s The Bobby DeBarge Story. Instead of just looking to Gordy for insight, the hip-hop star also turned to his past.
In the 1990s, Big Boi and fellow Outkast member André “3000” Benjamin signed with LaFace Records, the Atlanta-based urban music label started by Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds.
To prepare for his role in The Bobby DeBarge Story, Big Boi used his personal experiences at LaFace as inspiration.
“Being in music and coming up under the likes of L.A. Reid and LaFace being like the Motown of the South, and watching him and knowing what Berry Gordy put into the game… I just had to kind of turn the charm on and put myself there and it was great,” Big Boi said during a conference call with reporters.
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The Bobby DeBarge Story explores the tumultuous life of the former lead singer of ’70s R&B/Funk Band Switch. Bobby was the eldest sibling of the talented DeBarge family, and worked with their pop group DeBarge. Despite his success, the iconic falsetto struggled with fame and substance abuse. He died from AIDS complications in 1995.
Former Disney Channel star Roshon Fegan plays Bobby DeBarge.
“I had to dive in and really get to know Bobby and figure out what he was feeling and what he was thinking,” Fegan explained. “My best way to portray him was by being as genuine as possible.”
The movie co-stars R&B singer Lloyd as Gregory Williams of Switch, Tyra Ferrell (Etterlene DeBarge), Blue Kimble (Tommy DeBarge), Adrian Marcel (James DeBarge), Marie L. Toussaint (Bunny DeBarge), Laila Odom (Teri DeBarge), Benjamin “Bruno” Rose (El DeBarge), Ethan McDowell (Robert DeBarge) and Rodman Munson(Chico DeBarge).
It’s produced for TV One by Swirl Films, written by Norman Vance, Jr., and directed by Russ Parr.
The Bobby DeBarge Story premieres Saturday, June 29 at 8 pm EST/7C on TV One.
Watch the preview below.