Sources have confirmed to Shadow And Act that an adaptation of Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class is back in redevelopment at Fox. The book, written by Lawrence Otis Graham, consisted of him interviewing members of “prominent black families” in America.
If you remember correctly, it was once in development in 2017 from 20th Century Fox (now under Disney) and Fox from former Empire co-EP Wendy Calhoun, who was writing the script. An official order was never made on that version. Now, Empire and Star creator Lee Daniels is back with another project in the works at the network as he and Karin Gist, the final showrunner of Star, are heading this version, which is from 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment. Right now, the project just has a script development, which was the same commitment that was given to the initial project back in 2017. Gist is the writer and an executive producer and Daniels is an executive producer.
Here’s the logline of Daniels and Gist’s take: Single mom Angela Vaughn risks it all and moves her family to Martha’s Vineyard with hopes of taking her natural hair care line to the next level by infiltrating the African American elite in Oak Bluffs. But she soon discovers a secret about her past that just might change her position and shake up her life and this influential community forever.
At face value, it’s a change from Calhoun’s take, which was “a multi-generational family drama uncovering the lives of America’s black upper class by chronicling a dazzling Chicago dynasty with a dark secret threatening to rip it apart.”
Here’s the official description of Graham’s book:
Debutante cotillions. Million-dollar homes. Summers in Martha’s Vineyard. Membership in the Links, Jack & Jill, Deltas, Boule, and AKAs. An obsession with the right schools, families, social clubs, and skin complexion. This is the world of the black upper class and the focus of the first book written about the black elite by a member of this hard-to-penetrate group. Author and TV commentator Lawrence Otis Graham, one of the nation’s most prominent spokesmen on race and class, spent six years interviewing the wealthiest black families in America. He includes historical photos of a people that made their first millions in the 1870s. Graham tells who’s in and who’s not in the group today with separate chapters on the elite in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nashville, and New Orleans. A new Introduction explains the controversy that the book elicited from both the black and white communities.
Gist is currently the showrunner of ABC’s upcoming black-ish spinoff, mixed-ish. Among the projects that Daniels has in the works is a comedy pilot he’s producing at Amazon that has Lisa Kudrow and Tasha Smith starring.