DC Exclusive: Buppies Creator Talks Web Soaps, Blacks in TV and How "90's The Young and the Restless" Inspired HimBy Jamey Giddens on December 16, 2009
Primetime television watchers still mourning the back-to-back (to back) deaths of Girlfriends, Everybod Hates Chris and The Game, along with daytime soap opera fans, frustrated whenever they tune in to All My Children or The Young and the Restless to find beloved, black characters like Jesse, Angie or Neil being pushed to the side (or off a cliff in the case of Y&R's Drucilla), take heart. The revolution is truly being webivised, thanks to BET.com's wickedly-soaptastic web dramedy Buppies.
Starring The Fresh Prince of Belair and Y&R beauty Tatyana Ali (who, along with her sister Anastasia, also co-produces the series via their HazraH Entertainment single), the Cover Girl-sponsored Buppies is the dramatically-comedic saga of Quinci Allen— a celebrity publicist and descendant of black Hollywood royalty, reeling from the death of her power player father, as well as having been recently dumped by her ball player fiance.
The series, which also stars Ernest Waddell as Quinci's pal Shaka, a corporate lawyer by day/rapper by night; Robin Thede, as Priscilla, Quinci's snooty pal from college; Preston Davis, as Prissy's boyfriend Eliot, a sports agent with a secret; and Chante Frierson, as Kourtney, a "get you told" hip-hop heiress who grew up with Q, was created by one Julian Breece, and co-produced by Aaliyah Williams (Game Theory Films).
I recently caught up with the Harvard and USC Graduate School of Cinema-TV alum, who jointly with his producing partner Aaliyah Williams, was highlighted as one of "10 New Voices in Black Cinema" by IndieWire. Breece shared with Daytime Confidential.com how his sharp, hilarious, scripted web vehicle (a first of its kind for BET.com) came to be.
The prolific filmmaker (his debut short The Young and Evil was an Official Selection of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival) also revealed how some of his television influences growing up, from The Cosby Show spinoff It's A Different Word, to Falcon Crest and "90's The Young and the Restless" inform Buppies. Breece also talked candidly about the post-Obama state of African-Americans in primetime and how the current climate doesn't lend itself to waiting around for opportuities.
Daytime Confidential: What made you decide to create a series revolving around black Hollywood socialites?
Julian Breece: Buppies started out as a film school project. When I came up with the idea I’d just moved to Los Angeles and was really intrigued by the Hollywood scene. Anyone who’s worked out here, particularly on the celebrity side, knows that it's a world built completely upon delusion. Sometimes reckless delusion. Then, down the block, you have "black Hollywood," which is reckless delusion times 10, especially when you consider our racial history in this country. You see it and think to yourself, “Hmm, I’m pretty sure this isn’t what Malcolm and Martin had in mind.” So, initially Buppies was meant to be a pure, Curb Your Enthusiam-style comedy that parodied the black elite. This was about five years pre-Obama, mind you, and it’s an approach that wouldn’t be timely now. So, when I developed the series for the web, I decided to make the show more relationship-driven, and flesh out the universal themes of the show. The backdrop is Hollywood, but at its core, Buppies is a story about young people struggling to figure out who they really are in a world where nothing's how it seems. READ MORE
Oh no she didn't. That trifling trick Bitsy (I Wanna Be a Soap Star's impressive Ashlee Holland) breaks two cardinal rules in this episode of Buppies. She steals another sistah's shoes, AND she makes a black woman get her hair wet!
Creator Julian Breece and Tatyana Ali (Quinci)'s new web soap is not about to let up!!! Then there's what's jumping off between Eliot (Preston Davis) and Truth (Damen Wigfall) upstairs. Let's just say, you can tell this isn't a Procter and Gamble production! Buppies airs Tuesdays at 3 pm ET at BET.com! Tell your friends! Watch the episode after the jump! READ MORE
The Wall Street Journal recently featured my new web addiction Buppies in their "Speakeasy" blog. In the revealing read, series star and producer Tatyana Ali (Quinci) discusses what it was like for the child starlet to return to Hollyweird after getting her Ivy League on at Harvard:
“I’d been gone for awhile,” says Ali, 30 years old, who co-starred with Will Smith in the sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” early in her career. “That difficulty is what prompted me to start the production company. READ MORE
If you are craving the old school, soapy goodness of Dru, Malcolm, Neil and Liv on The Young and the Restless, or have been going through withdrawals since Girlfriends and The Game went to the Great Syndicated Sitcom Home in the Sky, this dramedy is for you! For more on Buppies go to BET.com. The revolution will be webivised!
One of the things I really like about [Buppies] being on the Web is the immediacy of it and seeing what people write. Whether they like it. Whether they hate it.