July 24, 2024


In 2020, Candice Carty-Williams became the first Black author to win Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. This year, she’s bringing her winning novel Queenie — originally marketed as the “Black Bridget Jones” — to Hulu.

The series is part of a slate of TV from Disney’s Onyx Collective, which seeks to elevate creators of color and underrepresented voices. It follows its titular character (Dionne Brown) as she experiences a messy breakup and messier rebounds.

What’s Queenie about?

A young woman praying in a church pew.

Dionne Brown in “Queenie.”
Credit: Latoya Okuneye/Lionsgate

Queenie is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in South London. After she and her boyfriend of three years part ways, she finds herself re-evaluating her choices — a process that results in some unfortunate hookups. But amid the chaos of her love life, Queenie also begins to confront trauma from her past to face her inner demons and rebuild.

Singer Bellah, who stars as Queenie’s friend Kyazike, praised Queenie’s imperfections at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour.

“I think it’s amazing to have stories where Black women don’t have it all together, where they don’t have to appear strong and figured out,” she said. “It’s nice to navigate mistakes… I think this is, for Black women, a universal story.”

With the help of the novel’s distinct voice, materializing here in voice-over, Queenie candidly explores what it’s like to be young and trying to figure yourself out. For Brown, that voice-over proved key in how Queenie tackles themes such as generational trauma.

“She’s not processing her trauma, so we start to see what happens when you stuff that in a drawer and don’t clear it out in her voiceover,” Brown explained.

Candice Carty-Williams adapts her own novel to the screen.

A young woman in a black playboy bunny outfit

Dionne Brown in “Queenie.”
Credit: Latoya Okuneye/Lionsgate

Carty-Williams will serve as Queenie‘s showrunner and executive producer. “It was incredibly important to me that I be involved from the beginning to the end,” Carty-Williams said of her work on the show.

During the writing process, she connected with Succession creator Jesse Armstrong, whose advice of “write what you want to write” she took to heart.

“There aren’t a lot of Black female authors in the UK who have done this, so I had to go to a white man for help,” Carty-Williams joked of her discussion with Armstrong.

Queenie‘s cast is made up of several rising stars, including Brown (Criminal Record) as Queenie, Bellah in her debut role as Kyazike, and Samuel Adewunmi (Secret Invasion) as Queenie’s friend Frank.

All eight episodes of Queenie premiere on June 7 on Hulu.


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