Where we once had Jenny from the block, now we have Nicki from the borough. ABC Family has announced a new show executive produced and starring Nicki Minaj based on her life growing up in Queens. The show is the latest in what The Atlantic refers to as the singer’s campaign to humanize herself and grow as a business woman. According to Deadline the show is described as a half-hour comedy focused on the Minaj family’s immigrant life in Queens in the early 1990s, focused on her vibrant family and personal and musical evolution that led to her rise to stardom.
I’ll be honest, when I think of Minaj I think of several things before comedy: neon, costumes, anacondas, hook-laden dance-rap, and that stern gaze that seems to hold the world at arm’s length. Love my music and my quirky faux-personas, the gaze says, but don’t think you know me. Though she abides by the rules of network TV during interviews and during her time as an American Idol judge, given the chance during a cable or radio show she’ll let loose with profanity and sex-laden lyrics. She is not an entertainer who will be put in a box.
She has shown her comedic on SNL however, spoofing Beyonce:
And Kim Kardashian explaining her naked Paper magazine shoot:
Minaj’s family immigrated to New York City from Trinidad and Tobago when she was five for her mother to attend college. She was raised in a tumultuous household in Queens and attended a performing-arts focused high school, successfully auditioning for an off-Broadway role before her acting career stalled. Her music has given her a chance to create her own exaggerated alter-egos, trying on and throwing off identities for music videos, interviewers, and Vine.
As an American Idol judge we saw the side of Minaj that may appeal to ABC Family executives. She’s kind, outspoken, compassionate, honest, and relentlessly encouraging. At moments you see her fighting for herself of a two decades ago, that girl from Queens who just deserves a break and can’t go back to work one more day at Red Lobster (from which she was fired for being rude to customers.)
Aside from the ABC development team nobody knows much about Nicki’s life but they think there’s a story there. ABC Family’s EVP of Programming and Development said, “Nicki is an international superstar, yet not everyone knows how inspiring and hilarious her true story is, and can’t wait to share it with the world.”
Kate Angelo (Sex Tape, Will & Grace) has been tapped to write the pilot and the series as well as executive produce. Additional EP’s include Aaron Kaplan, (Life in Pieces, Chasing Life), Brian Sher, Stella Bulochikon, and Gee Roberson.