The web series world so far has been relatively devoid of scandals. So when TMZ reported on a lawsuit surrounding former Fresh Price of Bel Air star (and R&B singer) Tatyana Ali’s upcoming web series Buppies, the story took a left turn. Now, after the lawsuit has been dropped in court and both sides are calling it a misunderstanding, the series is finally set for release after signing a deal with BET.com for a November 3 launch.
The series first popped up on our radar over a year ago when we talked to Ali and her sister Anastasia, who had just shot the project as the first original from their indie production co, HazraH Entertainment. The pair teamed up with writer-director Julian Breece, whom Tatyana had met while both were at Harvard, and crafted a series that feels like Sex and the City for a young black generation, as Breece puts it.
“We think it is something that can benefit the black narrative space,” said Breece who created the series. “On television, there’s nothing like this, and there hasn’t been since the 80’s with Frank’s Place.”
After losing her father and being dumped by her fiancè, Quinci (Tatyana Ali), the socialite daughter of a Hollywood celebrity, realizes that her friends are her only real family left. This provocative and ironic series chronicles the relationship dramas of Quinci’s dysfunctional but virtually inseparable friends as they navigate the perks and pratfalls faced by LA’s young black power elite.
“We wanted to offer something sexy, hilarious and very heartfelt, making the uncensored web space perfect for a show like Buppies,” Ali told us in an earlier interview. “As an actor, Quinci Allen is the kind of dream role that doesn’t come around very often. She’s sexy, smart and very complicated.” Ali stars alongside a handful of rising actors—Ernest Waddell, Robin Thede, Preston Davis and Chante Frierson.
The deal with BET, which came together earlier this summer, is a money deal which brings on board Covergirl as the show’s lead sponsor. Star Tatyana was in fact doing promos for the brand during the BET Awards in June. Interesting to note is that the network is using on-air promos to promote the online-only series. (An extended teaser of the series is embedded above.)
“I’m really excited about the digital space—we’ve always been tech kids,” said Breece talking about his producing partner Aaliyah Williams. “Especially after seeing Quarterlife, I was fascinated by the social networking that they had surrounding it with the site and I really admired the community that they built up around it,” added Breece, mentioning that he even hired Quarterlife DP John O’Shaughnessy to lense the series.
As for the short-lived lawsuit, that according to court records was dropped on July 17 less than a month after filing, Breece says “it came down to what it seemed like was a simple misunderstand and nothing more.” Presumably there were some unresolved ownership issues surrounding the partnership between Breece’s Game Theory Films and Ali’s HazraH Entertainment. “We’re all business people though,” added Breece noting that the “bump in the road” is now behind them.
A total of 10 episodes are planned for weekly release on BET.com, each coming in around 3-5 minutes.