Michelle Mitchenor, Tobias Truvillion, Leon, and Jessica “Jess Hilarious” Moore have been added to the cast of BET Plus’ upcoming biopic titled ‘The First Lady of BMF: The Tonesa Welch Story.’ Directed by Vivica A. Fox, The film follows the life of Detroit native Tonesa Welch, who rose to prominence in Detroit as a drug dealer and was eventually dubbed ‘The First Lady of BMF’ by federal prosecutors.
The film delves into Welch’s “craftiness and creativity, hustle and hard work” during Detroit’s crack era and America’s “war on drugs” and explores themes of riches, remorse, personal responsibility, and redemption. Kellie Williams, Daphnique Springs, Faith Malonte, and Tristin Fazekas also star in the film. Fazekas is cast as Meech.
Penned by Gabrielle Collins, The Tonesa Welch Story follows Tonesa (Mitchenor), a young woman raised in 1980s Detroit, who becomes seduced by the limelight and adventure of being in the drug game. She soon meets Harry (Truvillion), an older, sophisticated head of a drug organization who gives her a taste of the good life. Bothered by Tonesa’s ambition, Harry controls her through violence. But when the cycle of prosperity and abuse is about to break her spirit, Harry gets locked up and Tonesa forges a new path with a young, trusted confidante, Terry Flenory aka Southwest T (Malonte).
The film is currently in production in the Washington, D.C. area, and is set to debut on BET+ later this year. Executive producers of the film include Tressa Azarel Smallwood and Judge Greg Mathis, along with Donte Lee and Delece James who will oversee the production.
Welch’s story was first featured in the BET+ unscripted series ‘American Gangster: Trap Queens’, reigniting interest in the Black Mafia Family. Her role in BMF inspired the character Markisha Taylor, played by La La Anthony on Starz. However, Welch has expressed her dissatisfaction with the way the character is portrayed in the series, calling out the writer’s decision to have Markisha engage in sexual activity with a minor.
Despite this, the new biopic is expected to set the record straight and tell the true history of why federal authorities labeled Tonesa “The First Lady of BMF.” With its all-star cast and compelling storyline, ‘The First Lady of BMF: The Tonesa Welch Story’ is sure to be a must-watch for fans of biographical dramas.
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