Unscripted

Swizz Beatz, celeb chef Alisa Reynolds to front unscripted series from Disney’s Onyx

During the Television Critics Association’s (TCA) 2022 Summer Press Tour, Disney’s Onyx Collective not only revealed the premiere date for its previously announced docuseries The Hair Tales, but also unveiled three ...
August 5, 2022

During the Television Critics Association’s (TCA) 2022 Summer Press Tour, Disney’s Onyx Collective not only revealed the premiere date for its previously announced docuseries The Hair Tales, but also unveiled three new upcoming unscripted series, including one fronted by superstar record producer Swizz Beatz and another by celebrity chef Alisa Reynolds.

Originally announced last summer, The Hair Tales explores the culture of Black hair and how it ties into larger social, political and historic currents of African American life. The series will be broadcast simultaneously on Hulu and the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) beginning October 22, with two episodes dropping weekly on Hulu and one on OWN.

Oprah Winfrey, Tracee Ellis Ross and Michaela Angela Davis are executive producers on the series, which was co-produced by Winfrey’s Harpo Films, Culture House, Joy Mill Entertainment and Tetravision. Culture House’s Raeshem Nijhon and Carri Twigg also serve as EPs, along with Kisha Imani Cameron.

Onyx’s trio of newly announced series begins with The Untitled Swizz Beatz Project (w/t), in which the hip hop legend and automotive enthusiast travels the country to explore its car-culture hot spots. The series is produced by Jay Brown and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith of Jay Brown Productions and Ty Ty (respectively), along with Raymond Garcia of Major TV, Emmet Dennis of Black Drive Originals and Christian Sarabia of 51 Minds.

Next up is Searching for Soul Food, in which Alisa Reynolds, owner and head chef of L.A. destination restaurant My Two Cents, seeks out international variations on classic soul food by venturing from stateside locales like Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Appalachia to South Africa, Italy, Jamaica and Peru. The series is produced by All3Media America label Woodman Park Productions, De La Revolución Films and Ventureland, with Melina Matsoukas, Jacob Cohen-Holmes and Ali Brown on board as executive producers. Rodney Lucas is series director, while Traci Curry serves as showrunner.

Shifting from car and culinary culture to crime, the third series, Ring of Fire: The Life of Annie Mae Aquash (w/t), explores the murder of the eponymous Indigenous rights activist, a Mi’kmaq teacher from Nova Scotia, Canada whose death went unsolved for more than 30 years. Following Aquash’s daughter in the present day as she searches for answers, the series places this decades-old crime in the context of the ongoing epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Directed by Yvonne Russo, Ring of Fire is produced by Laylow Pictures in association with Nine Stories Productions. Russo also serves as an executive producer, along with Caroline Waterlow, Amy Kaufman, Ezra Edelman and Riva Marker.

Onyx also confirmed at the TCA Press Tour that it will now be included in ABC’s existing overall deal with Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi, who will develop both scripted and alternative television projects for cable, broadcast and streaming for the Disney-owned labels through her prodco 7th Sun Productions.

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.

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