If there’s one magical ingredient we could do more of in our lives right now, it’s comedy. So it’s music to our ears to hear that Gabrielle Union is developing a new comedy based on the lives of 30-something Black women navigating the highs and lows of their newfound financial freedom.
New Money is collaboration between Union and writers Jemele Hill and Kelley Carter for the channel Showtime, in a move first announced by Deadline.
The premise for the half-hour show centres around a group of Black women who have left the struggles of their 20s behind them, entering a glowing new chapter of career success and financial independence.
But for all the delights of being in your 30s, the comedy zooms in on some pitfalls of having access to “new money.” These include “hangers-on, false friends, unwanted media attention, and greedy relatives”.
All this, of course, while navigating “the treacherous world of dating” (something that may or may not be easier north of the 30 mark).
Journalists Hill and Carter are close friends who recently launched Lodge Freeway Media together: a broadcasting company that specialises in stories around women and people of colour.
New Money will be their venture’s first scripted series, which is also backed by Sony Pictures and Union’s own production franchise, I’ll Have Another Productions.
Writing on Twitter, Hill, a podcast host and writer for The Atlantic, said she was “very overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support” that came with the announcement of the new show, adding that it was “so rewarding” to be able to work with Carter and Union on the project.
“I’m collaborating with people who are intentional about inclusion and fearless as hell,” she added on Instagram.
Carter, a senior entertainment reporter for ESPN, shared Hill’s excitement on Instagram, saying, “we are in disbelief that other people loved this story as much as we did.” Union – who is also friends with both writers – commented, “Let’s goooooooooo!”
Being Mary Jane star Union sparked a vital discussion around discrimination in the TV industry last year, after she was fired as a judge on America’s Got Talent amid claims that she raised concerns over a culture of racism on the NBC show.
It was reported that Union flagged a racially insensitive joke made by co-judge Jay Leno based around a stereotype that a Korean restaurant might serve dog meat. In addition, she is said to have received a barrage of racist feedback from her one-season stint as a judge, including a comment that her hair was “too black” for AGT audiences.
Speaking at a Power of Inclusivity event last year, Union urged women to call out workplace discrimination whenever they encountered it.
“Don’t be the happy negro that does the bidding of the status quo because you’re afraid,” the actor told a panel audience. “Don’t allow them to call you angry when someone else is called passionate. It’s terrifying. There’s a solid chance you’ll lose your job.
“I speak from experience,” she added, referring to her dismissal from America’s Got Talent.
An internal investigation into Union’s firing by NBC concluded that “the concerns raised by Ms. Union had no bearing on the decision not to exercise the option on her contract.” But Union described the experience as “brutal”, saying, “[It felt] like such a public flogging”.
She added that her production company was created to fill a void in an industry “where I feel like the voices of marginalised folks have not been traditionally centred or amplified”.
With Union’s expertise at its helm, New Money represents one small step towards rebalancing this inequality; as well as providing us with some much-needed comic relief.
Production on the show begins now, with an air date to follow next year.
Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.