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‘Devotion’ Honors the True Story of the First African American U.S. Naval Pilot

‘Devotion’ Honors the True Story of the First African American U.S. Naval Pilot

One of the most heroic and important stories in naval history is coming to the big screen this holiday weekend.

Based on the book by Adam Makos, Devotion tells the relatively unknown story of Jesse Brown (played by Jonathan Majors), the first African American aviator in the history of the U.S. Navy and his friendship with fellow pilot, Tom Hudner (Glen Powell). Brown flew in the Korean War and even received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.

“Jesse is an American hero,” Majors said. “The American dream is that you can pull yourself up from your bootstraps — but he didn’t just do that. He pulled himself up from his bootstraps and put himself in the sky. And he did it with a heart as big as the ocean, with devotion for his family, for his country, and for his own self-worth. He aggressively went after things that seemed impossible. That’s the legacy of Jesse Brown.”

Majors’ hope is that the film would inspire audiences to have the same devotion for others as Brown had for the people in his life.

“Devotion is a word that is built up of other words – promise, love, sacrifice, allegiance, choice,” Majors said. “Jesse aggressively went after things that seemed impossible. He had ambition and hope and vision. He is the vanguard for change and diversity within the ranks of naval aviation in the United States.”

Majors delivers a powerful performance as Brown, capturing the complexity of being the first Black man to complete the U.S. Navy’s basic flight training program and serve in a brutal war. But that’s no surprise coming from Majors, who is at the top of his game right now. He’s set to star in the upcoming Creed III, Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Kang Dynasty to name a few. Coupled with co-star Powell, who is still reeling in praise from his performance as Hangman in this year’s box office success Top Gun: Maverick, and it’s easy to see why Devotion is the movie you can’t miss.

Devotion will premiere in theaters on Nov. 23.

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