Newly launched streaming platform BET Plus is debuting its first new original unscripted series, “American Gangster: Trap Queens,” an inside look at the lives of some of the country’s most notorious female gangsters, Variety has learned exclusively. Narrated by rapper and actor Jeezy, the first five episodes of the two-part series — an adaptation of “American Gangster” — are now available on the service.
“BET is excited to bring “American Gangster: Trap Queens” to BET+,” said BET’s head of unscripted programming Marisa Levy. “We’ve reimagined this long running series by letting women take center stage. Each episode features one of America’s most successful and notorious female criminal masterminds recounting her cautionary tale. Given the success of the original long running American Gangster television series, we hope ‘Trap Queens’ will become a fresh fan favorite in the true crime genre as well.”
Storylines include that of Delrhonda “Big 50” Hood, described as “a childhood runaway turned cocaine queenpin whose exploits get her caught up with the Feds,” “Bank Fraud Queen” Jamila T. Davis, Philadelphia drug dealer Thelma Wright, Tampa club promoter and multimillion-dollar tax scammer Rashia Wilson, and Shauna Barry-Scott, who was “called The Robin Hood of Youngstown Ohio when she ran a crack-dealing operation and gave the profits to the poor.”
Each episode of the series consists of first-person accounts by the women themselves as well as cinematic re-creations of events.
The series is executive produced by Arthur Smith and Frank Sinton of A. Smith & Co, alongside Judge Greg Mathis. Delece James, Mark Anthony, Breht Gardner, Jackson Nguyen and Sade Oyinade are also exec producing.
“I am proud to be Executive Producing a new iteration of the revered American Gangster brand,” said Mathis. “In creating Trap Queens, I aspired to shine a light on the redemptive stories of powerful former female crime bosses.”
The rest of the series’ episodes will be released at a later date.
“Much like the men we profiled in the iconic series ‘American Gangster,’ the women in ‘American Gangster: Trap Queens’ are complicated, multidimensional, and captivating,” said Sinton. “Along with BET Networks, we are committed to telling accurate and nuanced stories of about their motivations, and why they took the high-stakes risks that they did.”