If you are unfamiliar with Red Guerrilla Entertainment (RGE) or the name Rhyan LaMarr, here is your introduction: They are the architects leading the charge in building the future of faith-driven content that has millennials and Gen Zers paying attention and unashamed to share their walks with others.
The multitalented Chicago native LaMarr, 36, is the president and founder of the RGE production company, and is also the visionary who serves director, producer and screenwriter of the films Canal Street (2018) and Restored Me (2015). He is musician as well and is currently developing a “Christian rap cinematic universe,” much like you’ve seen with the Marvel movies. He has already released two of the planned 10 episodes of his Better Days series as small tastes to let everyone see what’s coming. RGE will also be partnering with a bigger platform to drop the rest of the series next year.
“The entire Avengers: Endgame story was completely devoid of Christ. All that chaos in the world. and nobody thinks of God,” says LaMarr. “So I said, ‘Why not? Why can’t we create that?’ You may call it ‘superhero,’ but you can call it other stuff, too. In our world, we have Jesus Christ, a real superhero that walked this Earth.”
According to LaMarr, “Being a light in a dark place is the core theme for the whole thing. It’s seeing common people do extraordinary things, which is what they’re doing in everyday life now,” he explained. “You look at DC characters like Batman; he’s a regular person who’s called to do something greater than himself. Everyone is looking toward better days because the world is getting darker. It’s art imitating life.”
He adds, “I’m excited to see people come together and create. They are real-life superheroes. They bring thousands of people together for Christ; that’s something that not everyone can do. There’s only a handful of people in this world that can influence people for Christ that have been called and chosen at this time to do it.”
Kanye West now hosts Sunday Service, and Chance the Rapper has also been outspoken about his Christian faith. Inarguably, they have big budgets to accomplish their goals. RGE’s CEO, Bishop Eric D. Garnes, carries the load of finding the financing to keep their projects going. Bishop Garnes says its goal is to inspire hope in Christ amid a cultural climate riddled with doubt and anxiety, and to give representation to those who don’t currently see people who look like them and love the Lord in films or on television.
As actors and musical artists hear what LaMarr is orchestrating, they reach out to him to let him know his is a movement they want to be a part of. “I’ve been able to start this conversation with people who influence millions of followers. I let the lens do the talking and let God work,” he says.
Over 60 cast members, some of whom represent the “who’s who” of Black entertainment, appear in Canal Street, a drama thriller that tells the story of a young man arrested for the murder of a White classmate, and his father who fights in court for his son’s vindication. They include Michael Beach, Harry Lennix, Lance Reddick, Mekhi Phifer, Mykelti Williamson, Woody McClain, Bryshere Y. Gray, Da Brat, the cast of The Breakfast Club, DeVon Franklin and Pat Smith. Yancey Arias, Jon Seda, Nora Dunn and Jamie Hector are among other notables in the film.
Here is the film’s official trailer:
Smith, a minister ordained via T.D. Jakes’ Potter’s House of Ministry in North Dallas, and Arias also star in the Better Days epic, which showcases legends in the Christian hip-hop world such as 1k Phew, Social Club Misfits, Twista, Jack Red and LaMarr himself.
In the entertainment industry, sometimes the wrong things are glorified,” says Arias. “Rhyan is a visionary. And that’s what my co-stars and I are attracted to his work; we feel like his voice and what he stands for is missing in the industry.”
RGE is developing Better Days as a YouTube original series; Canal Street is available for purchase now at Walmart and can be seen on BET this Christmas.