Drumline is a 2002 film written by Shawn Schepps and directed by Charles Stone III. This inspiring comedy/musical/drama film, starring Nick Cannon, Leonard Roberts, and Orlando Jones, teaches how discipline and determination lead to success. It also gives an outlook on college life. Devon Miles (Nick Cannon) is drummer who gets a full scholarship to play at Atlanta A&T University. There, his talent astounds the schools musical director, Dr. Lee (Orlando Jones. ) At the first practice, Devon meets his section leader Sean (Leonard Roberts), an upper-classman who has dedicated three years to the drumline.
After noticing Devon’s confidence and talent, Sean becomes envious and threatened for his rank. Soon after that, things heat up between Sean and Devon. Devon gains popularity over the next few weeks. The band director of Morris Brown University, a neighboring school and competition rival, also notices Devon’s talents. Morris Brown has crushed A&T over the past few years at the BET Southern Classic, an annual competition for marching bands. However, this year A&T is determined to win. One day during practice, Sean asks Devon to play a new piece of music for the drumline.
This throws Devon off because he is unable to read music. Sean discovers Devon’s secret, and tells Dr. Lee about the situation. After this, Dr. Lee finds himself and the future of his band program in jeopardy, so he kicks Devon off the drumline, and forces him to take basic music courses. Afterwards, Devon contacts A&T’s rival school Morris Brown College, to discuss about playing for their band next year. Brown’s band leader, Mr. Wade, says that Devon does not need to know how to read music and will likely get a good position on the drumline and a full scholarship.
When Wade wants to know what Dr. Lee’s plans are for the BET Southern Classic, Devon realizes that his heart and honor are still with the A&T band. He rejects the offer and returns to A&T. Although Devon is still not playing for the band, he cannot give up his drumming. He and Sean have a final confrontation that clears the air and they begin to help the band prepare for the upcoming event. The two drummers present their idea for an entrance cadence to Dr. Lee who decides it will be used in the competition.
At the Classic, the bands are shown to be performing a blend of trendy songs. Morris Brown even gets a rapper to sing during their performance. A&T is not fazed by this and performs their music with perfect sound. A tie results and the Morris Brown and A&T drumlines face off. Dr. Lee tells Devon he can play for this faceoff, showing faith in Devon and in thanks for all the hard work he has done in getting the band ready for the Classic. Morris Brown plays their cadence; this includes the snares moving forward and playing on A&T drums, then throwing down their sticks.
The A&T line holds their position even though Brown insults them. A&T plays their cadence, and in the middle throws their sticks down, mimicking Brown’s actions, but then the whole line pulls out another set of sticks and continues playing. After A&T ends their cadence in the faces of their rival, they drop their sticks onto the other drumline’s drums. The judges award the win to A&T. Drumline displays how it takes hard work and determination to reach success. The ideal audience is for teens and adults.