When Cop Rock: The Complete Series came out on DVD, the show from the creator of Hill Street Blues was given a second look. Most critics at the time thought it was too much for police officers to break into song during an investigation. Rewatching the show decades later, I wanted Cop Rock to have even more musical moments. It was frustrating to see the perfect moment that called for an officer or suspect to sing their emotions, they just read their lines and moved on to the next scene. My Name Is Myeisha is a fictionalized account of the night when Tyisha Miller was shot to death by the Riverside, California police in 1998. Instead of a straight dramatic account, My Name Is Myeisha explores the moment and the victim through rap songs and dream-like narratives.
Myeisha (Ink & Rain‘s Rhaechyl Walker) is ready for the family’s Kwanza celebration to end so she can hit the town with her cousins Roni (Supergirl‘s Dominique Toney) and Kai (Class‘ Dee Dee Stephens). However the post family fun comes to an abrupt end when the tire on her car goes flat. Making things worse the jack is missing. Roni and Kai get a lift home to try to get a jack since the towtruck is going to take a long time. Myeisha stays in the car with the windows rolled up and the doors locked since it’s a scary neighborhood. This turns into an issue when the girls return along with the help. They can’t get Myeisha to wake up. The cops are called to help out. When one cop breaks the window, a panic breaks out and Myeisha gets shot numerous time. She’s dead. This part is what happened to Tyisha Miller. When Myeisha’s body is taken to the morgue, the coroner (John Merchant) charts the bullet injuries as Myeisha’s ghost gives her history as related to that body part. She gives us her short life in rhyme. There’s more to her than dots on an autopsy chart.
My Name Is Myeisha is adapted from the hip-hop play Dreamscape by Rickerby Hinds, but director Gus Krieger and cinematographer Jeff Moriarty keep things from feeling stagey. The action is rather straight forward until the cops show up. Then we are given a floaty impression of Myeisha that flips between surrealist sights and flashbacks. The action never gets bogged down. The hip hop beat keeps things in motion and gives a sense of why things mattered to her. They give us so much depth to the character that it hurts when we revisit the moment when the police bust open the car window. Please take this as a compliment, My Name Is Myeisha is the ultimate episode of Cop Rock. This is what I expected from the series. My Name Is Myeisha gets to the heart of what happened on a tragic night with song, reflection and sorrow.
The video is 2.38:1 anamorphic. The transfer handles the darkness and light of various scenes. The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1. The mix allows both the hip hop and spoken dialogue to sound fine. The movie is subtitled.
DVD with the film and bonus features.
Commentary with director Gus Krieger has him talk about how he got to know about the musical. He points out how in the opening scene, the simple act of the guy in the car being angry at her for crossing the street at the stop sign sets the tone.
Cast and Crew Interviews (32:21) starts off with Rickerby Hinds discussing the creation of his play. He speaks of how to bring the audience into the story. Rhaechyl Walker speaks of performing on stage and bringing her performance to film. John Merchant talks about how his relationship with Hinds led to the playing the beatboxing coroner.
Theatrical Trailers (2:01) makes us know that this isn’t a traditional film about violence and there’s hip hop.
Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery (5:34) has pics from the shoot. You can see how small of a crew they had for this intimate production.
Shout! Factory presents My Name Is Myeisha. Directed by: Gus Krieger. Screenplay by: Rickerby Hines and Gus Krieger. Starring: Rhaechyl Walker, John Merchant, Dominique Toney, Dee Dee Stephens, Rickerby Alexander Brown-Hinds and Gregg Daniel. Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 83 minutes. Released: January 28, 2020.
Tags: Cop Rock, My Name Is Myeisha, Shout! Factory