New Series with Diarra Kilpatrick and John Salley Premieres Thursday, March 21

BET+’s Diarra from Detroit is “not the Black girl you’ve seen 100 times.”
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Diarra Kilpatrick // Photograph courtesy Paramount

Have you ever been ghosted? It’s okay; most of us have (unless you’re the one always doing the ghosting). But have you gone so far as to assume it’s because someone was kidnapped?

Three episodes of Diarra From Detroit, a new BET+ original series, are set to premiere on Thursday, March 21. The season will have eight episodes, with one coming out each week. The show stars its creator Diarra Kilpatrick — a Detroit native, Emmy nominee (and the half-sister of former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick) — as Diarra Brickland, a schoolteacher who is going through a divorce and is convinced her Tinder date isn’t ignoring her because he, of course, must have been kidnapped. This speculation ultimately pulls her and her friends into a ’90s cold case.

Kilpatrick pitched the comedy to BET in 2021, revealing a story with complex female characters and mystery components she believes everyone can enjoy. The main character, she says, lives in a home filled with art and books that Black viewers (who got a sneak peek at the SXSW Film Festival) were excited to point out, like the Song of Solomon novel written by award-winning author Toni Morrison — the first Black woman to become senior fiction editor for Random House.

“I think sometimes in shows, if you do see a Black woman, it’ll be like a white girl dipped in chocolate; she’s just like a white girl, but she’s Black,” Kilpatrick says, adding that she wanted to create a character other Black women could recognize. “Even though she’s a culturally specific Black girl, she’s not the Black girl you’ve seen 100 times or that you just expect to see — there’s a quirkiness, there’s some duality and some complexity to her.”

The show will feature other Detroiters, including native Claudia Logan, who plays Moni, the main character’s best friend; former Piston John Salley, who plays Tony Kincaid; and Detroit rappers Kash Doll and Icewear Vezzo, who play Maisha and Leroy, respectively.

“I just breathed a sigh of relief when Claudia came in and she brought that authentic Detroit grit and humor and gangster,” Kilpatrick says.

Although not from Detroit, Morris Chestnut, known for his breakout role as Ricky in Boyz n the Hood, plays Swa (short for Francois), the main character’s ex-husband.

A few B-roll shots were taken in Detroit, but the show was primarily shot in New Jersey because they offer tax incentives. Detroit had tax incentives for film and TV from 2008 to 2015, and recently, Michigan lawmakers have discussed bringing those incentives back. “I’m hoping that when it comes back around for a vote, that Detroiters and Michiganders, at large, will bring back the tax incentives,” Kilpatrick says. “It not only brings the jobs and the money into the region, but it also helps us authentically highlight that special sauce of Detroit.”

Even though the show isn’t filmed in Detroit, Kilpatrick says it will include restaurant and business shoutouts and inside jokes that Detroiters will appreciate.

Stay up to date with the latest metro Detroit film and TV news at hourdetroit.com.