Picture this: Your favorite 1990s hip-hop girl group comes together to produce new music together and you get to see all the backstage baggage that goes with it. This is the premise of ABC‘s Queens, which stars several true music legends of the late 90s and early 2000s: Brandy, Eve, and Naturi Naughton (from girl group 3LW, the other members of which became members of the Disney group Cheetah girls). Join them in the series and TCA Summer Press Tour were Nadine Velazquez, Pepi Sonuga and Taylor Sele, as well as the production team.
“It’s so versatile, it’s so different,” Brandy explained of her journey from Disney Princess in Cinderella by Rodgers & Hammerstein to Queen ABC. “I’m not a princess on this show, I really am a completely different person.” Brandy plays Naomi, whose girl group name is Xplicit Lyrics (each of the girls has a different character in the group at TLC and Spice Girls). “I love rap,” the star explained of her character’s skills. “I’ve always loved it, I’ve been a hip-hop fan since the 90s. And I’m so happy to be able to rap and sing. It’s definitely a difference, because this rap is really, really hard.
“A lot of people underestimate how much rap is needed,” Naturi Naughton agreed. “I’m more of a singer because, as a singer, you need breath control and rhythm.” Naughton plays Jill, aka Da Thrill. “I literally bow down to all the rappers who dance, play, kill… I’m having so much fun. I never knew I could really rhyme, and I feel a bit like myself. The thrill is definitely spit and burn, so I’m having fun discovering the new cadence of what it takes to be an artist this way.
With Queens Featuring new music from the cast, Eve’s involvement is a dream come true for her legion of fans who have been waiting for a new album since her last album in 2013. “The music on this album is so amazing, honestly,” revealed the rapper. “If you’re looking for some new music, this music is going to feed you, trust me, from all of us… It’s a great way to soak my toes, my whole body, in fact, not just my toes, my toes. whole body back into the music without having the real pressure of an album. I can have fun and be that other character and also make amazing music. Believe me, when you hear it, you will love it.
The only band member on the show who hasn’t been in the professional music industry is Nadine Velazquez, who plays Valeria, aka Butter Pecan. “I was ready to face the things I was hiding from the world,” the actress revealed of her entry into music through the series. “I am musical in my soul, I am a poet in my soul, I am a dancer and she is in there. And this work brings her out and I have always been hiding her. Nadine added that she received huge support from him Queens actors and producers. “I had a really traumatic experience in the entertainment world because I was so scared to show so much. But I can be that here.
This theme of supporting and supporting each other extends to the plot of the show itself. “Our show is about brotherhood and family,” said executive producer Zahir McGhee. “You are fighting with your family, and these are people who have been reunited after a long period of time. And we have fights, but we want to see people support each other and find each other. There will always be disputes, there will always be a hierarchy that exists and that evolves.
“We have a lot of real people who were there at the time, which gives it a certain level of authenticity,” Zahir added of what makes Queens unique in a landscape of other TV shows that are peeling the layers of the music industry. “We don’t have a show where you can have five women of color and a man of color in the foreground. It’s just not common on ABC and not common in broadcast media. We have the opportunity to tell a whole series of stories about the experience of women of color and black women in this country. [It] isn’t it the pressure of Eve who must be the only black character to say the thing that matters, right? We are varied, we are tall, we are beautiful. I think the time was yesterday for this show, and the time is today, and the time is tomorrow for this show.
Queens airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC starting October 19. New episodes will air on Hulu the next day.
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).