For those of us who love and appreciate Keke Palmer, who loved her performance (and her ability to do an Akira bike slide) in the not-nominated-for-a-single-Academy-Award Nope, her inability to recognize Dick Cheney, and her performing with SZA on Saturday Night Live for “Big Boys,” the unofficial theme song for Big Guy Twitter/Husky Twitter, this is some good news: She’ll be developing a series for HBO Max called Unfriendly Black Hotties.
From Variety, who broke the exclusive news:
Per the official logline, the series is a “comedic satire exploring Gen-Z’s weaponization of political correctness told through the eyes of four high school girls.”
Palmer, Crawford, and Aniobi will serve as co-writers and executive producers on the series. Aniobi executive produces under her SuperSpecial Inc. banner. Lenoria Addison will also executive produce along with Big Boss Entertainment and SuperSpecial’s Aanch Khaneja. “Unfriendly Black Hotties” is a co-production between HBO Max and Entertainment One, with Palmer currently under an overall deal at eOne and Aniobio under an overall deal at HBO and HBO Max.
Aniobi is best known for her work throughout the run of the critically-acclaimed HBO series “Insecure.” She began on the show as a producer in Season 1, eventually rising to the rank of executive producer for the show’s final two seasons. Aniobi was also the showrunner, head writer, and executive producer of the HBO series “2 Dope Queens” starring Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson.
Crawford is best known for his work in front of the camera, most notably starring as Duquan in the hit HBO series “The Wire.” He again partnered with the team behind “The Wire” on the HBO limited series “We Own This City” in 2022. His other TV roles include “Person of Interest” and “The Get Down.” Should “Unfriendly Black Hotties” go to series, it would mark his first TV writing credit.
For those of us who love and appreciate Keke Palmer, this is also some bad news for her, and for her colleagues. Because according to a writer named Shay Caldwell, the Unfriendly Black Hotties project looks and sounds a little too much like the Unfriendly Black Hotties project that she and her partner had been pitching around Hollywood for the last two years.
From Caldwell’s Instagram page:
Cassady Dill, Caldwell’s writing partner on the Unfriendly Black Hotties project, used her Instagram Stories to express her feelings on the matter by simply showing many of the supportive responses they’ve received so far from people who hate seeing their hard work plagiarized, and who are hoping that HBO Max rectifies the situation as soon as possible.
So far, there have been no responses from Palmer, Crawford, or Aniobi regarding this matter. Twitter, on the other hand, had a few things to say about Palmer and HBOMax’s version of Unfriendly Black Hotties when it was first announced.
“Free us from stories told through the eyes of high schoolers!”
“Why does it have to be about high school? I swear Hollywood is allergic to writing shows about college or people in their 20s.”
“y’all mad about this being a high school show, but can you name at least 5 black led high school shows rn?”
“why do i feel like they wanted to set this in college but hbo max told them they already had [The Sex Lives of College Girls] and sent them back to the drawing board?”
“yes, they aren’t going to be the ones playing the high school students but this is such a college idea… it would have been such a bigger serve if they developed it as a college show”
“this boutta be a bunch of caricatures of gen z written by millenials based off of tik tok and twitter. right there with grownish”
“Aside from the weird description I’m going to trust Keke on this. I hope some Gen Z girls are in the writers room tho ðŸ™ðŸ¾”
“we could’ve had a fun drama ab 4 teenage girls being teens but here we are. millennials spend more time being mad ab us pushing political correctness than we do ab people not following it. idk maybe i’m trippin”
“bodies bodies bodies opened up a portal that everyone thinks they can go through”
“Hi, writer here. A show like Unfriendly Black Hotties would depend on cliques in a school setting to work. Since cliques don’t exist in college, then UBH would have to take place in high school. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.”
The news about what happened has slowly picked up steam on Twitter but is getting more attention on Instagram, thanks to Caldwell’s post. None of us know what or if Palmer, her colleagues, and The Powers That Be over at HBO Max are going to do about this (and frankly, I’m shocked that HBO Max is actually developing a project, instead of canceling it or just shelving it completely for tax-related purposes), but this situation isn’t a good look for the actress or for the streaming service. Considering that Palmer just starred in a film that touched upon how Hollywood chews up its talent and spits it out with little to no appreciation for who they are and what they do (especially when that talent doesn’t come in the form of a young, able-bodied white man), the last thing she should want for her career and her reputation is to gain another accomplishment that relies on her tripping up two other Black women who are running the same race and jumping over the same hurdles that she is. But for now, all we can do is wait and see what happens next.