It looks like Audible Inc. is adding to its A-list of partnerships such as LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Hart and Kenya Barris—and bringing in a little “U.N.I.T.Y.” On Monday afternoon, the audio storytelling platform announced a multi-project first-look development deal with Queen Latifah and Shakim Compere’s production company Flavor Unit to create a slate of audio-only original projects.
Here’s the scoop on what the upcoming coming projects we do know about so far, via the official press release sent to The Root:
The inaugural project, Streets, Rhymes & Sugar: A Hip-Hop Memoir from entrepreneur and screenwriter Michael Elliot (Brown Sugar, Just Wright, Like Mike), releases August 5, 2021. This short-form Audible Original will chronicle Elliot’s path from homeless teenager on the streets of Philadelphia to successful screenwriter. Also coming from Elliot is a scripted romantic comedy, Technically Speaking, about a single mom who falls for the founder of the big tech company she works for in Silicon Valley.
Forthcoming in the partnership is Unity in the Community, a 7-part episodic series from Queen Latifah. In this limited series, Latifah wonders: With so much bad news, is there anything to listen to that spells H-O-P-E? Latifah goes in search of good news and delivers it, focusing on community activists who are the glue that keep their neighborhoods together. Each 30-minute episode will profile an activist implementing a concrete plan that can be modeled in other communities.
“We are so excited to collaborate with Audible on a collection of shows that will highlight different communities, community leaders and friends of mine,” Queen said in a statement. “A common thread within all of these shows will be to share stories that bring hope and entertainment to those at home who’ve had a tough year.”
Speaking of bringing hope and entertainment, Queen was recently honored at the 2021 BET Awards for doing just that throughout her career (especially for Black women in hip-hop), receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award where she honored the primary queen who had an impact on her life—her late mother.
“Profoundly talented, multi-hyphenate, Newark native Queen Latifah has always honed in on culturally relevant, representative and hugely entertaining content,” Zola Mashariki, Head of Audible Studios, said in a statement. “Having worked with Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere and Flavor Unit for years across various film and TV projects, I’ve had a front row seat to watching their creative magic at work. We absolutely can’t wait to create and innovate with them on a slew of new audio projects. The Newark community is at the core of Audible’s DNA so we’re especially excited to have Queen Latifah cover social activism in her hometown and beyond with Unity in the Community.”