If you haven’t met Philipé “Philly” Weeden yet, it’s only a matter of time before you do. Dubbed as the next up and coming Tyler Perry, this young man has an extensive list of accolades, awards and box-office receipts. With two books (REALationship Breakdown Philly Style: Based on Real Life Experiences and The Black Man’s Guide: If You Knew Better, You’d Do Better), one movie released in 2014 (If You Knew Better, You’d Do Better), and seven stage plays under his belt, he’s well on his way.
Philipé Winston Weeden is a man of many talents. He’s a designer, model, ex-professional football player, public speaker, author, playwright and now screen writer. He’s also a twin. His brother, Phillip Weeden, is just as well known as Philipe, as he’s the founder of the smash hit cardio step class Xtreme Hip Hop with Phil.
Recently, the twins brought their collective talents to the metro Detroit area for a “Weekend with the Weeden Twins. On Saturday, Phil taught his Xtreme Hip Hop class at the Coleman A. Young Recreational Center. On Sunday, Philipé brought his play SOULmate? A True Love Story, starring Taral Hicks of ’90s movies fame Belly and A Bronx Tale to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The supporting cast also included one of Detroit’s own, singer and actress Teisha Lott Brown from the national recording group Brownstone.
The play, which is currently on tour, takes us on a love journey with Sabrina (played by Hicks) and William (played by Alvin Frazier). They start their journey of discovering what true love is during high school when William acknowledges he has a “school-boy crush” on Sabrina, who just so happens to be the prettiest girl in the school. William solicits the help of his uncle Ralph to help him get his girl, and after a few attempts, he’s successful. The play then takes us on an emotional roller-coaster ride of the couple’s experiences in love as they grow together through their adult years, and then on through their glory years. The audience gets to experience the highs and lows of their relationship and learn along the way if the couple has truly found their soulmate in each other. The play drops nuggets of “love” wisdom all throughout, with lines such as “with love, sometimes it’s a risk worth taking.” The play is riveting, inspiring and captivating and is based on the premise that friendship is the foundation for love.
The play featured a live band and livelier singing. During the play, singer and actress Taral Hicks showed off her beautiful melodic pipes as she effortlessly belted out into song periodically throughout the play. Her soprano vocals were compelling, crystal clear and brought about tears. The play’s next stop is Indianapolis, and has already made tour stops in Detroit and Columbus, Ohio, this year. Starting next year, SOULmate? is planned to tour across the nation with its first stop in the metro Atlanta area in February.
Photo gallery credit: Porsha Monique for Steed Media