'God Never Left Me': R&B Songstress Miki Howard Talks 'Love Under New Management' Biopic

Teyonah Parris and Miki Howard
Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images

Teyonah Parris and Miki Howard at "Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story" at AMC Empire on June 7, 2016 in New York City. 

TV One’s first venture into the bio arena premieres June 12.

There’s just one message that R&B singer Miki Howard wants viewers to take away from her forthcoming biopic. “Perseverance,” she declares during an interview to promote Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story. “Don’t let any obstacles keep you from being the person you want to be.”

Premiering Sunday on cable network TV One (7 p.m. ET; encore at 9 p.m. ET) in celebration of Black Music Month, the biopic stars Teyonah Parris (Chi-Raq, Dear White People) as Howard. The 85-minute film chronicles Howard’s life as a homeless teen, estrangement from her mother, battles against spousal abuse and drug addiction as well as her romance with the late singer Gerald Levert. Along the way, the Grammy Award-nominated singer forged a hit-filled career that began with 1986’s No. 5-charting “Come Share My Love.”


Howard charted six more top five R&B singles over the next six years. In addition to the No. 1 songs “Ain’t Nuthin’ in the World” and “Ain’t Nobody Like You,” that tally includes “Baby Be Mine,” “That’s What Love Is” with Levert, “Until You Come Back to Me” and the biopic’s namesake hit “Love Under New Management.”

Those songs provide the musical backdrop for the biopic, which was filmed on location in Savannah, Georgia. “It’s all the original music,” says Howard. “It’s so nostalgic, taking you right back to those days and times.”

Singling out the “genuineness and vigor” in Parris’ portrayal of her, Howard notes, “At a young age, she understood my journey, knew she had to go through some dark places and was able to do so. That is a special gift.”

As for former love and friend Levert -- portrayed by Darius McCrary (TV’s Family Matters) -- Howard says she “could never doubt myself around Gerald. He always pumped me up, making me feel like I was the best entertainer in the world. We later outgrew the romance, but he remained my champion. I really miss that.”

Among the biopic’s additional cast members are Vanessa Bell Calloway as Howard’s mother Josephine, LisaRaye McCoy as veteran record label executive Sylvia Rhone and Indira Khan as her mother, the legendary Chaka Khan. Howard also appears in a special cameo. Directed by Christine Swanson, who co-wrote the screenplay with former Billboard writer Rhonda Baraka, Love Under New Management marks TV One’s first biopic. The project was inspired by the Howard-focused episode featured on the network’s popular documentary series Unsung.

Asked how difficult it was to candidly look back at the good and bad times in her life, Howard says, “It wasn’t nearly as hard as living through them. But in the end, it’s a triumphant story. God never left me.”