When the casting news broke that CodeBlack Films, a Lionsgate company, had partnered with Sanaa Lathan to executive produce and star in the feature film adaptation of the “Flyy Girl” book trilogy, written by New York Times bestselling author Omar Tyree, I was confirming my meeting with the Quincy Newell, the executive vice president and general manager of CodeBlack.

The great news about Black Hollywood is that despite “haters” wanting to portray us a competitive, crabs in a barrel, in my personal experience, it’s the opposite. We look out for one another, we share. Lathan was at the Los Angeles Film Fest as well, because Gina Price-Bythewood ‘s “Love and Basketball” was being screened and honored.

The award-winning actress will star as the film’s protagonist, Tracy Ellison, an intelligent, somewhat sassy, goal-driven woman. Lathan will also star in Lionsgate’s “Now You See Me 2” and the upcoming production of “The Best Man Wedding.”

“I’m pleased to executive produce and star in Lionsgate and CodeBlack’s incredible adaptation of Omar Tyree’s iconic ‘Flyy Girl’ trilogy,” said Lathan. “So many people have grown up on this series and I’m looking forward to bringing Tracy Ellison’s story to life through film. It’s my hope to continue to help bring diverse stories to the big screen.”

The anticipation for the film is also high because of the fact that Academy Award-winning writer Geoffrey Fletcher (“Precious”) has been engaged to write the script. 

“I can’t explain how excited our team is to have Geoffrey on board,” stated producer Effie T. Brown. “I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by such gifted storytellers, and the support of CodeBlack Films is tremendous. It’s going to be a great experience and a great film.”

“Flyy Girl” explores the journey of Tracey Ellison, a successful businesswoman and workaholic who believes that money is always the key to happiness. In the midst of her life journey, Ellison is forced to reinvent herself and rethink her relationships, her career and her definition of success. The second book in the series, “For the Love of Money,” won an NAACP Image Award (2001, Outstanding Book, Fiction).

Tyree’s books have been read by over 8 million people worldwide and have grossed more than $30 million for publishing giant Simon & Schuster.

“Both Sanaa Lathan and Geoffrey Fletcher are welcome additions to this project, and we could not be happier to have them on board to help us bring this story to life,” said CodeBlack Films President Jeff Clanagan. “Lathan’s star power paired with Fletcher’s nuanced script work—we’re confident that ‘Flyy Girl’ will prove to be a classic.”

In our meeting, CodeBlack Films’ EVP and General Manager Quincy Newell reminded me of something very important and I wanted to share. We were discussing how surprised the “general market” is when the box office receipts are tallied and it “disrupts” analysts’ inaccurate predictions about our growing and lucrative market. We have strong buying power. We are also a loyal brand when we are treated with respect and offered quality content.

A native of New Orleans, Newell and I discussed the creative will power of our people. We used food as a focal point, citing the fact that our ancestors made the leftovers, the spoils, into delicious meals. We compared that creative verve with film and what we are given in terms of resources.

“So the idea of that is simple,” stated Newell. “You know what we can do given the resources is, in fact, is actually phenomenal, even though when you compare it to the rest of the world, it might look like it’s not as good. Well, ‘you’ spent $100 million and we spent $5 [million], and if you compare the gap in that, the truth is, this is far superior. So when given the proper resources to truly talented people, it will amaze you.”