TV One is shedding light on mental health in the Black community during National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month with the premiere of its original movie, “The Secret She Kept,” on Sunday, July 10 at 7 p.m. ET (encore at 9 p.m. ET).
Inspired by the best-selling novel of the same name by NAACP Image Award-winning author ReShonda Tate Billingsley, “The Secret She Kept” immerses viewers in the story of a prominent family that lets shame, confusion and misunderstandings about mental illness send them down a tragic path.
Kyla Pratt stars as beautiful, high-powered attorney Tia Jiles, who has just married the man of her dreams, successful magazine executive Lance Kingston (Gavin Houston), and is on the brink of launching a major political campaign, when a pattern of erratic behavior uncovers her secret: she suffers from mental illness. Tia never revealed to Lance what she and her family, especially her mother Virginia Scroggins Jiles played by Kellita Smith, have known since Tia was seventeen – she has an illness that takes over her mind, transforming her into a woman struggling with bi-polar and schizoaffective disorder both privately and publicly. Determined to end the cycle of secrecy, Lance, along with his sister Beverly Kingston (Vanessa A. Williams), set out to convince Tia to resume her medication and enter treatment.
Alton Glass directs the film from a screenplay by Rhonda F. Baraka.
“So often, we trivialize that someone is just ‘crazy’ and we don’t recognize that mental illness is real and relevant. I wanted to show not only was this something that deserved our attention, but that we shouldn’t be ashamed to seek help. If our bodies are sick, we get help. I wanted to de-stigmatize the shame that often keeps us from seeking treatment when our minds are sick,” said Billingsley. “I am grateful The Secret She Kept has been turned into a movie. While the book did exceptionally well, the platform TV One provides will hopefully get more people talking about what so many people see as a dirty little secret.”
“The Secret She Kept” is an exploration of the impact of mental illness on families, which is far too often closeted in the African American community and provides a thought-provoking and inspirational story which addresses how far to go to save a loved one when they’ve kept a dangerous secret for years.
The Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (July) was announced in May 2008 by the U.S. House of Representatives to enhance public awareness of mental illness and mental illness among minorities. The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Albert Wynn (D-MD) and cosponsored by a large bipartisan group, to also improve access to mental health treatment and services, and promote public awareness of mental illness. More information is available on the National Alliance of Mental Illness website.
To learn more about “The Secret She Kept” author ReShonda Tate Billingsley, visit www.reshondatatebillingsley.com/, Facebook, Twitter (@ReShondaT) and Instagram (@ReshondaTateBillingsley). In addition, viewers are encouraged to participate in a nationwide Twitter Party with Billingsley during the movie’s premiere on Sunday, July 10, 7-9 p.m. ET using the hashtag #SecretSheKept.
For more information about TV One’s “The Secret She Kept,” visit the network’s companion website at www.tvone.tv.
“The Secret She Kept” is executive produced by Eric Tomosunas and James Seppelfrick for Swirl Films and Rhonda F. Baraka.
For TV One, Karen Peterkin is Executive-in-Charge of Production and Director, Scripted Original Programming; Donyell McCullough is Senior Director of Talent & Casting; Robyn Greene-Arrington is VP of Original Programming; and D’Angela Proctor is Head of Original Programming.
Trailer follows below: