"And then obviously, when I heard that Brandy and Naturi were signed on, I was like, 'Oh, my God,' and then that Swizz Beatz was doing the music. It was like, 'OK, this is perfection.' And even Nadine Velazquez ... She has never sang or rapped. But she's amazing."
The cast of "Queens" is full of people about that '90s superstar life: Brandy was a Disney princess with her landmark "Cinderella," starred in her own TV show, "Moesha," and dropped a self-titled debut album that cemented her among leading vocalists. Naughton was no slouch either as a member of girl group 3LW.
More than a show about rappers "reclaiming their throne" — as the tagline says — "Queens" is about women reclaiming their time, friendship, another chance at life.
"This show shares a lot of DNA with 'Desperate Housewives,'" executive producer Sabrina Wind, who had the same position on that show, says during a Zoom call outside Atlanta, where the show is shooting. "I always thought of 'Desperate Housewives' as a show about learning that life's opportunities get smaller as the years go on and then trying to figure out how you feel about that and what you're gonna do about it. It's about more than that."
"It is about friendship. It's about second chances. If you blew one of the biggest opportunities of your whole life and 20 years later, you get a second chance at it … What are you willing to sacrifice, what are you willing to do to get it, to fulfill that dream?"
Or, as Eve puts it, "it's just reclaiming that power of self."
The four rappers — Brandy's Xplicit Lyrics, Velazquez's Butter Pecan, Naughton's Jill Da Thrill and Professor Sex — lost touch after the high-flying '90s and reunite, er, "reclaim," under "Girls5Eva"-like circumstances. That is, a rising star of a rapper uses their big hit to make one just as big, they climb on the train and suddenly, they have another chance to get it right. But while Peacock's "Girls5Eva" is decidedly a comedy, and a good one at that — "ours is ... such a show all its own it doesn't matter that somebody else has our logline," Wind says — "Queens" has other genres on its mind.
"It falls into the same lack of category that 'Desperate Housewives' does, and yet it adds a new layer of hip-hop and music," says Wind, who felt it imperative to work on "Queens." "We have dramatic scenes, we have comedy scenes, we have music, we have moments that will make you laugh, will make you cringe, will make you cry. But at the same time, I played this show for my family at my wedding this summer, and people were saying, 'I had no idea that it would be accessible for me too. I didn't realize that there would be storylines I would relate to.'
"And it's because we do show the glitz and the glamour, but we also show real human emotions, we also show the trials and tribulations of being a housewife or being in a marriage or struggling with your career or all of these things or just trying to figure out who you are and what disappointments you've caused in your life because of that. So there's just so much relatable in just the emotional aspect of it."
"Dramatic" and "relatable" are the operative words for Eve, who has acted mostly in comedies.