Buppies is Fresh, Fun
It’s been over a year since the trailer for Buppies premiered here on What Would Thembi Do?, and the web series is finally coming to BET.com. Yes, I did say BET, but hear me out – I had a chance to watch the ten episode series in its entirety and it is equal parts fresh, hilarious, smart, and fun. Think Beverly Hills 90210 or Gossip Girl meets the story of a crew of affluent twenty-something black socialites living in Hollywood (buppies = black + yuppies, get it?), dealing with the highs and lows of finding one’s place in the world and a whole lot of drama. Buppies is highly addictive thanks to its accurately black dialogue and gossipy plot-twists; after each three- to five-minute episode of the show I was left with a cliff-hanger that made me crave the next one.
First a little background: writer/director Julian Breece, whose thought-provoking drama The Young and Evil made a splash at 2009’s Sundance Film Festival, is one half of the production company Game Theory Films and producer Aaliyah Williams is the other. They joined with Tatyana Ali’s Hazrah Entertainment to bring the Buppies vision to fruition, making it independently financed and produced, a fact made abundantly clear by its blatant non-BET-ness. The result is the most promising black web series to date, and one of a handful of black entertainment offerings out there that avoids being moralizing or making some grand point about saving the community while still tackling issues like sexuality, relationships, identity, and race. Breece’s writing has a distinct flair for delivering comedy, drama, and blackness at the same time, and it is refreshingly authentic. I spoke to series producer Aaliyah Williams who explained, “the show is about being black and having all of your different things that you’re into, but at the end of the day you’re undeniably Negro. It’s not about trying to scrub up these little black children and make them clean and white and Cosby-like and pristine.”
The series revolves around Quinci Allen (Tatyana Ali), who is having the second-worst day ever thanks to her crew of well-meaning friends and a birthday party that never should have been thrown. I realized what Williams meant by “undeniably Negro,” after a scene in which the bougie-est character of the bunch, Priscilla (played by Robin Thede), dismisses a bout of sudden nausea as “just a reaction to the smell of cognac and gang affiliation.” As the series evolves we become immersed in the lives of Quinci and her friends, true-to-life characters played by a cast of emerging talent that includes Ernest Waddell (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), Damien Wigfall (I can not stress how FAHN he is), and Chante Frierson (A Different World) as Kourtney, living proof that even if you’re rich enough to have a pool out back you still might only serve Special Brew at the bar. The high production quality leads to a collection of crisp, fresh brown faces that are straight-up nice to look at, sharply captured talent that might not otherwise get this kind of exposure, and original music by composer Gary Gunn that is a perfect match with Buppies‘ every mood. While the web-series format takes some getting used to because of the short episode length, watching the tight-knit group trade snaps, deal with drama, and comfort each other in crisis is a whole lot of fun.
Check out the Buppies website starting November 24th for the premiere and further episodes each Tuesday at 3:00 PM, but first watch this sneak peek below!