The Bobby DeBarge Story

Release Date:  6/29/19; TV One
Genre:  Drama/Biography
Rating:  NR
Director:  Russ Parr
Studio(s):   Swirl Films, TV One
Running Time:  Unknown

Story:   The movie explores the tumultuous life of the former lead singer of 70’s R&B/funk band Switch, also the eldest sibling of the world-famous pop group DeBarge. Despite his success in music, the iconic falsetto found his life in peril as he struggled with fame and fortune while coping with the memories of his dysfunctional childhood.  Bobby, born in 1956 Detroit to Etterlene and Army soldier Robert DeBarge, Sr., the latter whom he says was abusive, was introduced to heroin at the age of 15. Heroin would soon become his lifelong addiction. After his parents divorced and Etterlene and the children moved to Grand Rapids, Bobby, a talented musician and vocalist, began playing in local bands along with his younger brother Tommy. In 1976, Bobby DeBarge, along with Tommy DeBarge, Phillip Ingram, Jody Sims, Eddie Fluellen, MC Clark and Arnett Hayes, formed the group Switch and a year after signing to Motown, they dropped their debut album. In the late 80’s Bobby joined his younger siblings’ group, DeBarge but his personal problems, drug use and legal troubles caused major issues both internally and within the group. After contracting HIV in the 1980s Bobby died of AIDS complications in 1995.

The film’s stars include Roshon Fegan in the lead role as Bobby DeBarge, Tyra Ferrell as Etterlene DeBarge, and Adrian Marcel as James DeBarge.  Big Boi portrays legendary music mogul Berry Gordy, while Lloyd appears as Switch member Gregory Williams.  Sources:  Official Site, TV One.com; Global Grind; The Philadelphia Tribune.

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