BEYOND THE LIGHTS
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
South London, 1998 - Single mother Macy Jean (Minnie Driver) takes her young daughter Noni (India Jean-Jacques) to a hairdresser late at night. The hairdresser, Felicia (Deidrie Henry), says they are closed up for the night. Macy pleads with Felicia to fix Noni's hair in time for the upcoming talent show. Felicia agrees and does her work on Noni.
At the talent show, Noni sings "Blackbird" by Nina Simone. She moves the judges and the audience. She earns the first runner-up trophy behind a girl who worked with hula hoops. Macy is not the least bit happy with the result, and she pulls Noni offstage. They go back to the car where Noni is crying. Macy makes her chuck the trophy to the ground, stating that she shouldn't settle for anything less than the top prize.
As an adult, Noni (now played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is an over-sexualized pop star that has achieved success for performing a song with rapper Kid Culprit (Machine Gun Kelly). They win the Billboard Music Award for Best Video, and Noni's debut album hasn't even been released. Following the show, Noni gets in her limo and drinks. She goes back to her hotel room, guarded by Officer Kaz Nicol (Nate Parker), whose father is the well-liked Captain David Nicol (Danny Glover). He only lets Noni into her room until Macy (who is now Noni's manager) arrives. Macy screams and Kaz runs inside. Noni is standing over the edge of the balcony. She looks at Kaz and Macy, saying "You still don't see me." Kaz goes over to her and tries to stop her. Noni tips over and falls but Kaz catches her. He tells her, "I see you."
A press conference is held following the incident. Noni and Macy pass it off as a drunken accident with Kaz made to look like a hero cop. The press continues to harangue Noni about whether or not it was a suicide attempt, but she refuses to comment. A paparazzo later approaches Kaz and offers him $20,000 to tell the whole story.
Noni and Macy meet with the record producer Liam King (Tyler Christopher), who wants to push the release of Noni's album after the talk of suicide, and that just won't sell with the target audience. Macy urges him to reconsider, what with an appearance at a music awards show coming up. Liam says that Noni must make herself look good or else the album may not happen.
Noni finds Kaz and they go out to share a meal. She also kisses him. She finds the check from the paparazzo, but Kaz denies having told the man anything. She leaves his car in a huff.
Kaz is currently focused on his future in the department, and a potential career in politics, with David standing by his side.
Of course, much of the attention is focused on his saving Noni. He ends up spending more time with her, where he finds a box of letters from fans, and she learns that he's never been on a plane before. He also asks her about her relationship with Kid, and if it's serious or not.
Noni goes on the lot to find Kid Culprit. She goes to Kid's trailer to break it off with him.
Kaz is called to respond to a domestic abuse claim. He and his partner arrest a man after he hit his wife in front of her kids. Kaz gives the woman his number in case there is anymore trouble. Noni arrives on the scene and invites Kaz to join her. He obliges only to not embarrass her. She surprises him by taking him on his first trip on a plane.
Noni takes Kaz with her to the BET Music Awards. There, she performs onstage with Kid, who crudely cuts in on her spotlight and later shoves her head into his crotch. He then addresses the audience and says it was he that broke up with her, causing her suicide attempt. He then pulls off Noni's jacket. Kaz goes onstage to stop this and take her away. Kid calls her a bitch, and Kaz socks him in the face, to the delight of the audience. This incident forces Noni to break down, as she is fed up with this lifestyle.
Kaz takes Noni away for a while to a beach house. There, she ditches her trademark purple-and-silver hair for a more modest hairstyle.
They become more romantically involved and they make love. They go to a beach bar and grill with a karaoke stage. Kaz gets up to serenade Noni, only he's a pretty bad singer. Noni gets up and sings "Blackbird" with tears streaming down her cheeks. The audience loves it and someone records the performance to put up on YouTube.
This break is cut short when Macy arrives with the paparazzi trailing behind her. Kaz leaves them alone to talk. Macy says the "Blackbird" video got over 40,000 hits on YouTube. She also mentions that "Blackbird" was the first song Noni sang when she was a child. Macy played it to drown out Noni's crying, but Noni sang along to the melody.
Noni and Macy meet up again with Liam and the rest of the producers. The album is still set for release, but Noni wants them to add a song that she wrote. Macy agrees to it or else they back out. She takes out a termination notice that Liam claims was mistakenly sent to her fax machine. He apologizes and allows for the song's use.
The mother and daughter argue at home over Macy's control on Noni. Noni argues that it was Macy's opportunity to show everyone that looked down on her to prove she wasn't a fuck-up by showing off her talented daughter, which makes Macy slap Noni. She is immediately remorseful.
Noni and Kaz meet up once more. They part amicably as they know where each other's lives are headed.
Kaz returns to the home of the abused woman. She is standing outside her home in fear. The man has a gun and he shoots at Kaz but misses. Kaz takes him down and beats him.
Noni has a televised interview where she admits that she did try and kill herself on that ledge. However, she states that she was letting go of the Noni that everyone knew so that she could be the Noni that she really wants to be. The interviewer comments on how brave it was for her to admit this, and he wishes her good luck.
With his father's encouragement, Kaz follows Noni to her performance at a concert in her hometown in the UK. He tells her he loves her, but she is pulled up to the stage. The fans cheer her on, and she performs her own rendition of "Blackbird". She gets Kaz to join her onstage. She tells him she loves him back. They kiss and the crowd goes wild.