Onyx Collective Greenlights Three Unscripted Series


Onyx Collective has ordered three new unscripted programs, including the true-crime docuseries Ring of Fire: The Life of Annie Mae Aquash (w.t.), directed by Yvonne Russo.

The series from Russo unravels the decades-old mystery behind the murder of Indigenous rights activist Annie Mae Aquash, a Mi’kmaq woman from Nova Scotia, Canada. Aquash’s daughter searches for answers and contextualizes the case within the current epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Ring of Fire is executed produced by Amy Kaufman, Caroline Waterlow, Russo, Ezra Edelman and Riva Marker. Laylow Pictures is producing the series in association with Nine Stories Productions.

Onyx Collective has also greenlit an untitled project with hip-hop artist and car collector Swizz Beatz. He will visit car-loving destinations and examine each area’s distinctive car culture and bring together two otherwise disparate car clubs over a shared love of all things automotive. The series is produced by Jay Brown and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith of Ty Ty and Jay Brown Productions, Raymond Garcia of Major TV, Emmet Dennis of Black Drive Originals and Christian Sarabia of 51 Minds. In addition to hosting, Swizz Beatz is executive producing.

The third newly ordered unscripted series is Searching for Soul Food, following celebrity chef Alisa Reynolds as she uncovers what soul food looks like around the world. As she goes on an international journey through the culinary worlds of Mississippi, Oklahoma, Appalachia, South Africa, Italy, Jamaica, Peru and Los Angeles, she will explore the stories, people and traditions of each. Rodney Lucas is serving as director, while Melina Matsoukas, Jacob Cohen-Holmes and Ali Brown are executive producing. Traci Curry serves as showrunner, and Woodman Park Productions (an All3Media America company), De La Revolucion and Ventureland are producing.

In addition to greenlighting new series, Onyx Collective has entered an overall deal with Yara Shahidi (grown-ish). ABC Signature extended its deal with Shahidi and her 7th Sun Production Company to include Onyx. Along with her business partner and mother, Keri Shahidi, she will continue to develop and produce scripted and alternative television projects for cable, streaming and broadcast.

“It is every creative’s dream to be seen and heard and to do so with colleagues who align with your vision and your soul,” the Shahidis said. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to continue to create with our Disney family and be grounded in the work that Onyx Collective is doing to meet the moment.”

The new series pickups and deal with Yara Shahidi come as Onyx Collective’s new series The Hair Tales prepares to launch. From executive producers Oprah Winfrey, Tracee Ellis Ross and Michaela Angela Davis, it is set to debut on October 23 on Hulu and OWN, with two episodes releasing weekly on the streamer and one episode releasing weekly on OWN thereafter.

“It is an exciting time to be leading Onyx Collective,” said Tara Duncan, president of Onyx Collective and Freeform. “When we opened our doors just over a year ago, we set out to nurture imaginative storytelling, creating disruptive, inclusive and wildly entertaining narratives that would spark conversation and forward the culture. That vision is materializing in ways we could have only dreamed of, and we remain grateful to have a clear lane at Disney General Entertainment, a company that has empowered our work from day one.”