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On the Come Up Ending Explained

The ending of On the Come Up shows Brianna “Bri” Jackson finding her true voice. She learns to stay true to herself despite the pressures of the rap industry.

On the Come Up is a musical drama that follows Bri, a young rapper, as she navigates the challenges of the music industry and her personal life. The film, directed by Sanaa Lathan, is based on Angie Thomas’s novel.

Bri’s Journey

Brianna “Bri” Jackson is a 16-year-old aspiring rapper. She lives in Garden Heights, a fictional city. Her father, Lawless, was a local rap legend who died young. Bri feels the weight of his legacy. Her mother, Jay, struggles with past heroin addiction and finding stable work. The family faces financial hardships, including eviction threats and utility shutoffs. These struggles fuel Bri’s determination to succeed in the rap industry.

Bri’s breakout track becomes a massive hit. However, the lyrics spark controversy. They discuss guns and gang affiliations, leading to public backlash. People accuse Bri of being a drug dealer and gangster. A protest at her school turns into a riot after a security guard is hit with a glass bottle. This controversy tests Bri’s authenticity and values.

Confrontation and Consequences

The backlash from Bri’s lyrics leads to a violent confrontation. Gang members beat up Bri and her friend Malik. They also steal her father’s chain. This incident prompts Bri’s aunt, Pooh, to seek retribution. However, Pooh is shot during the altercation and ends up in jail. This adds another layer of elaborateity to Bri’s journey.

Throughout the film, Bri grapples with the pressure to conform to stereotypes. Her journey is about more than achieving fame and financial security. It’s about finding her authentic voice. The film emphasizes the importance of staying true to oneself, even in the face of adversity. Bri realizes that her true power lies in expressing herself honestly through her music.

Themes and Character Development

On the Come Up explores several themes. These include the struggle for authenticity, societal stereotypes, and the intersection of race and gender in the music industry. The film also delves into issues of family, poverty, and empowerment. These themes are woven into Bri’s journey as she navigates the challenges of the rap industry and her personal life.

Character Development

Bri’s character development is central to the film’s narrative. She evolves from a young girl trying to emulate her father’s legacy to a confident artist. She understands the importance of her unique voice. The supporting characters, including her mother Jay and her aunt Pooh, also undergo significant development. Jay’s struggle with her past addiction and her efforts to support her family add depth to her character. Pooh’s protective nature and eventual downfall highlight the elaborateities of loyalty and retribution.

Critical Reception

On the Come Up received positive reviews from critics. They praised its authentic portrayal of the rap industry and robust performances. The film was noted for its thoughtful exploration of themes such as racism, authority overreach, and societal stereotypes. Critics also highlighted the film’s ability to balance moments of despair with a sense of hope and empowerment.

Positive Reviews

Critics lauded the film for its genuine sincerity and the robust central performance by Jamila C. Gray. The exploration of Bri’s journey to find her authentic voice resonated with audiences. The performances of the supporting cast, including Sanaa Lathan and Da’Vine Joy Randolph, were also praised for adding depth and nuance to the narrative.

Mixed Reviews

While the film received generally positive reviews, some critics pointed out areas where it fell short. The film’s reliance on certain clichés and its occasional lack of urgency in addressing its themes were noted as frailnesses. Additionally, some reviewers felt that the film’s execution could have been more polished, particularly in terms of its editing and narrative structure.


On the Come Up is a compelling film that offers a fresh perspective on the journey of a young Black girl navigating the challenges of the rap industry. Directed by Sanaa Lathan, the film successfully balances themes of authenticity, societal stereotypes, and personal empowerment. Despite some criticisms, the film’s robust performances and thoughtful exploration of its themes make it a noteworthy addition to the genre of musical dramas. Bri’s journey to find her authentic voice serves as an inspiring reminder of the importance of staying true to oneself, even in the face of adversity.


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