By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — Lawrence Otis Graham made writing about the Black upper class a passion and the subject of 14 books. He combined that career with being a corporate lawyer at Weil, Gotshal & Manges as well as a real estate attorney at Cuddy & Feder. Graham passed away in February at 59, but one of his best-selling works is now slated to become a television series.
Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class (HarperCollins) was a New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Essence Magazine bestseller, as well as a selection of the Book of the Month Club. This week it was announced that the duo of Lee Daniels and Karin Gist were doing a television version of Our Kind of People, and that it had been given the straight-to-series treatment at Fox Entertainment.
This is the first new Fox drama series ordered for the upcoming season. It’s also the first to be launched out of the network’s script-to-series model and writers’ room led by Gist. Gist and Daniels had previously been executive producers of “Star. According to press reports and publicity releases, the drama will be set in the aspirational world of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, a historical stronghold where the rich and powerful black elite have come to play for over 50 years.
The series follows protagonist Angela Vaughn, a strong-willed, single-mom, as she sets out to reclaim her family’s name and change the world with her revolutionary hair-care line that highlights the innate, natural beauty of Black women. Michael Thorn, president of entertainment, for FOX Entertainment, described it in both Deadline and Variety as “a soapy, thrilling exploration of race and class in America.”
Gist is writing and executive producing alongside Claire Brown for her The Gist Of It Productions. Daniels, Marc Velez, and Pam Williams are executive producing via Lee Daniels Entertainment, with Propagate’s Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens, and Rodney Ferrell also on board as executive producers. Montrel McKay is a non-writing executive producer.