"Juneteenth has always been part of my life," director Channing Godfrey Peoples says. With her upcoming film, Miss Juneteenth, the writer-director wants to make sure it's a part of yours, too -- and ET can exclusively debut the trailer.
The coming-of-age film follows former Miss Juneteenth beauty queen Turquoise (Little Fires Everywhere's Nicole Beharie), now a hard-working single mother who's guiding her teenage daughter, Kai (Alexis Chikaeze), through the same pageant -- in hopes that her life will turn out differently. (Watch the trailer above.)
"As a girl growing up in Texas, I marveled at the annual Miss Juneteenth winner gliding across the stage with hope on her face," Peoples tells ET. "Before I understood the significance of the pageant and its purpose of instilling pride and self-worth in the ladies who were crowned its winner, I was fascinated by the pageantry: its contestants were young, hopeful African-American women."
"Miss Juneteenth is a movie about dreams deferred," she explains. "I am so honored to be able to make this film about a woman who is the legacy of those ancestors, desperately looking for a way to make a better future for her daughter."
Juneteenth, which commemorates the ending of slavery in the States, is a day of remembrance and coming together, which Beharie also experienced making the film. "Freedom comes late for some of us but we will celebrate it nonetheless!" she says, adding that it "meant the world" to be part of a community that rallied around Peoples to make her first film.
Miss Juneteenth premiered at Sundance and was selected for SXSW's slate, before the latter was canceled. It is available digitally and on demand on Juneteenth, June 19.