Naturi Naughton Reacts to ‘Queens’ Cancellation

After weeks of speculation, the ABC musical drama series Queens has been cancelled. Despite the cast loving the characters they played and speaking publicly about the show reigniting their love for acting and performing, not enough people tuned in. One of its stars, Naturi Naughton, shared her sadness and pride about the show in a social media post. 

Naturi Naughton with cast of 'Queens;' the show was cancelled after one season
Naturi Naughton with cast of ‘Queens’ 2021 | Gavin Bond/ABC via Getty Images

Naturi Naughton mourns cancellations of ‘Queens’

The ABC show starred Naughton alongside Eve, Brandy, and Nadine Velasquez. It chronicled a popular 1990s all-female rap group who reunited 20 years after their disbandment for a special performance. The group opted to stay together under a new moniker and with a more mature sound.

Source: YouTube

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Following news of the cancellation, Naughton, who starred as Jill aka Da Thrill, took to Instagram to share her feelings. She captioned a series of photos with her co-stars and members behind the scenes of the show in part:

Well… #QUEENS is not coming back y’all, but we still have our crowns ! Thanks to all the fans who took the journey back to 1999 with us… sadly @queensabc has been cancelled but I am still grateful for the experience! #JILLDATHRILL was Soo much fun to play! And I MEAN, working alongside legendary #queens like @brandy & @therealeve was surreal for me! The lil jersey girl in me is still jumping inside – and @nadinevelazquez who dove right into the hip hop shenanigans! We gave it our ALL ladies! I’m proud of us!

Jill’s character was a rapper turned devout Christian who after reuniting with her former group members, divorced her husband amid a longtime affair with a woman. She struggled to balance her new life as a public member of the LGBTQ+ community with scrutiny from the religious community she once was close to.

The show was reportedly canceled due to low ratings

Queens’ cancellation was not a surprise for many insiders. Ahead of the official word, it was assumed that the show wouldn’t be picked up as ABC had already announced their renewals for the next year’s lineup.

Per The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Queens had the lowest ratings out of all the other shows in ABC’s fall 2021 roster. It premiered with 1.78 million viewers and dropped 34% within two weeks. Shows like the ABC reimagining of The Wonder Years only saw a 20% decline throughout the season. The latter of which debuted to 8 million viewers.

Eve left midway through filming for a hiatus due to her maternity leave. Whether or not she intended to return for a second season if the show got picked up was unknown as the rapper lives in the U.K. and the show films in Atlanta. 

In Eve’s absence, Remy Ma was added to the show. The first season lasted for 13 episodes and had guest appearances from other big names such as Jadakiss, Fivio Foreign, Wyclef Jean and Cam’ron. Despite the cancellation and ratings decline, the music on the show was critically acclaimed by music industry peers and fans.

Cast of the show loved working with one another

In press interviews for the show, the cast described their tight-knit bond. Eve discovered she was pregnant with her first child during filming and says she leaned on her co-stars, specifically Brandy and Naughton who are both mothers, for support.

“It’s so nice to be on set with women who are in this business. Naturi, specifically, she had been filming Power while she was pregnant with her daughter, Zuri, and so she gave me lots of advice, and Brandy as well,” Eve told ESSENCE Magazine. “Brandy, she’s such a sweetheart, I love them both.”

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