Katori Hall (‘P-Valley’ showrunner): Sees these strippers ‘as superheroes and as athletes’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

The Mississippi Delta is the fictional home of “P-Valley,” a visually-stunning new drama series that debuted this past summer on Starz. Series creator Katori Hall recently joined our Gold Derby Meet the Experts TV Showrunners panel to discuss the origins of the program (watch the exclusive video interview above). The Memphis native reveals, “I just wanted to represent home. I love being a Southerner. I love being a Black woman. And part of my coming-of-age experience was going to strip clubs, and so I saw these women as superheroes and as athletes. I wanted to lift this veil on this world that a lot of people didn’t really know deeply about.”

The show is centered around the lives of employees of strip club The Pynk. It stars Brandee Evans, Nicco Annan, Shannon Thornton, Elarica Johnson, Tyler Lepley and Isaiah Washington. Critical reviews have referenced its “Southern Gothic” atmosphere and universally praised the acting, writing and choreography.

Finding Evans as the lead Mercedes was not an easy task. Hall says, “When she came through, I thought this woman took the ‘Mercedes’ in my head and came into the room with her. What was crazy was that Brandee almost did not get an audition… She fought to get into the audition room, which is so ‘Mercedes!’… She hustled her way into the room and snatched that role from hundreds of women!”

Hall is an Olivier Award-winning playwright whose TV career has included such projects as “Cast Black Talent Virtual Reading Series,” “The One You Never Forget” and “Arkabutla.”

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