About Runway model Sandra Bush dreamed of becoming the first African-American supermodel, only to struggle with addiction and despair. But she later achieved celebrity as Mama Bush, the model for some of the best-known and widely admired paintings by her daughter, acclaimed artist Mickalene Thomas. In her film directing debut, Thomas paints a poignant portrait of her mother and artistic muse, presenting a tender look back at a lifetime’s worth of hopes, regrets and redemption. Drawing on personal and archival photos, as well as intimate interviews, Mickalene Thomas’ vivid, loving portrait chronicles her mother’s personal and professional struggles, including a turbulent marriage, drug abuse and chronic illness. Growing up as the daughter of a minister and his devout wife in Camden, NJ, Sandra Bush entered into a disastrous first marriage immediately after high school. Following the birth of Mickalene Thomas and her brother, she fled the problematic union, divorcing her husband. With characteristic determination and élan, the newly single mother pursued a career as a model in New York City, garnering considerable attention for her willowy frame and aristocratic features, while hosting parties, fashion shows and theater productions to raise money for sickle cell anemia, a hereditary blood disorder that had afflicted her since birth.

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