Welcome to the first recap of ABC’s new drama series Queens. This week we meet the former queens of hip hop (emphasis on former) the Nasty B*tches as they reunite for the first time in 20 years to close out the BET Awards. But before we get to their big performance, we have to learn who they were, who they are, and how we got here…

(ABC/Gavin Bond)

(ABC/Gavin Bond)

Please note this recap contains spoilers for season 1, episode 1 “1999.”

The year is 1999 and the Nasty B*tches are debuting their glamorous new music video “Nasty Girl” on MTV. The song is as big and bold as the video with the term “nasty” thrown around throughout, accompanied by male dancers, major explosions, alcohol, Burberry, and a yacht. As the video plays, the Nasty B’s are introduced and then it cuts to where they are today, some 20 years after they made it big.

First up is Brianna aka Profesor Sex (Eve) who’s now living the mommy life and has her hands full with five kids. She braids her daughter’s hair while listening to Baby Shark and accidentally burns something on the stove. She’s busy and exhausted. Her husband, Jeff (Ronreaco Lee) is suffering from migraines and has a CT scan scheduled for later in the week. In the meantime they tag team for breakfast and school drop off. He thanks her for her support and calls her a queen.

Next we meet Jill aka Da Thrill (Naturi Naughton) who is very Catholic. She goes to confession and tells the priest she’s not sleeping with her husband and starts to mention having an affair but stops short and leaves.

Enter Valeria aka Butter Pecan (Nadine Velazquez), a Daytime TV show host for LA’s The Shade. After being reassigned from an interview to a story about the world’s oldest chimp she decides to take matters at the station into her own hands. She gives herself a pep talk in the mirror then pulls out a small vial of clear liquid and pours it into her coffee mug.

Finally, Naomi aka Xplicit Lyrics (Brandy) is introduced. Her life is far from the grand stage it once was, but not out of the spotlight. Her current gig is playing guitar at a bar in Nashville where she suddenly gets recognized by some younger men. She stops playing, raps, drops the mic and walks off the stage.

(ABC/Jeff Daly)

(ABC/Jeff Daly)

The music video plays out and there’s a highlight reel of the girls at the top of their game. They’re doing interviews, showing off their shared mansion on Cribs, posing for pictures and talking to the press at the VMA’s, and giving their very real opinions of George Bush. But their success is short-lived and soon the group breaks up and goes their separate ways. Nasty B*tches are no more.

After dropping the kids off at school, Brianna goes grocery shopping and finds a couple making out against the back of her van. They finally stop so she can open the trunk, when the guy recognizes her. He tells his girlfriend that this was Professor Sex, but she’s doesn’t see how someone whereing sweats and buying prune juice was once music royalty. This touches a nerve with Brianna who makes a detour to pick up something sexy to wear. She returns home, puts on her new lingerie and primps, but as she heads to the bedroom, her husband is already in the throes of passion with…a young white girl (well 1/8 Peruvian). The girl apologizes, commenting on how she respects Brianna and made sure they always used protection. Disgusted, Brianna tells him "I gave up everything for you."

Jill’s husband wants to start a family and so she’s been tracking her fertility which shows now’s the perfect time for them to make a baby. Displeased by this she lies and tells him it’s not the right time. He’s okay with this and tells her God has a plan. Later in the evening her friend Tina comes over and the two start to kiss, but Jill pulls away. She’s struggling with coming out and reminds Tina her father was a deacon who prayed over kids who were gay. Tina says "It's difficult to break someone's heart." She loves Jill and wants to be with her and hopes Jill wants the same.

Naomi heads to her mom’s house in Atlanta to visit her teenage daughter Jojo. The last time she saw her was a year ago coming to visit for Jojo’s birthday. Jojo is mad that Naomi isn't around and says she keeps chasing fame and she doesn’t know who her mom is. She shuts the door in Naomi’s face.

In LA at The Shade two producers and Valiera are reviewing a tape of co-host Dana, a white woman, making controversial remarks about Black Lives Matter. As they discuss what to do, Valeria volunteers to apologize on air and win back the hearts of their audience.

Back at Briana’s home the family is eating dinner and talking about their day, but she can’t take it anymore. She storms out and gets in the van, turning on the radio. Surprise, surprise rapper Lil Muffin is performing the Nasty B’s song. She calls Jill. Meanwhile, Naomi is also listening to the song while Valeria meets up with Eric aka E-Roc (Taylor Sele), the Nasty B’s former manager and the guy who broke her heart. He asks about getting the group back together.

Answering the call to rekindle their music careers, the girls head to LA. Jill and Brianna are the first to arrive and Jill comments on how it’s been 20 years since they "imploded on that stage in San Diego." The others show up and after a few moments of pleasantries, Naomi and Valeria start fighting. Brianna takes charge, unleashing her mom side and shouting "no iPads!" The girls stop bickering and E-Roc introduces them to Lil Muffin (Pepi Sonuga) whom he represents. She’s closing out the BET Awards on Sunday and he wants the Nasty B’s to perform with her. He’s offering them $50k each for the show. Brianna knows she could use the money, but Jill is still active in her parish and worries about the lyrics. Naomi is also in but says Valeria needs to apologize, she’s the reason they broke up. She also accuses her of riding their fame after the group split. Valeria has heard enough and leaves.  

With Valeria gone, the other three girls get together to drink wine and bitch, digging up some deep truths such as Jill’s history with drugs—she used to do blow every night. Brianna tells the girls about her husband’s cheating and asks why women stay in relationships where their men cheat. “Beyonce didn't leave, Hillary didn't leave…we sacrifice out of love.” She says she can’t leave because they have 5 kids and a car payment, but her hip hop sisters tell her she needs to find the fierce woman she used to be.

They part ways for the night, except Naomi who spots Eric at the hotel bar. They reminisce about their history and how she was just his secret chick, he ultimately chose Valeria. Despite all this, when he grabs her hand she has a flashback to their early days. He goes on about his life, but Naomi stops him, "we gonna take these drinks to my room or do you want to keep talking about your feelings?" They end their evening together.

(ABC/Kim Simms)

(ABC/Kim Simms)

The next morning at The Shade, Valeria shows up to work and is caught on camera swapping mugs with Dana. Her boss threatens her and tells her to step down. After a few moments of thought, she heads to the hotel where the other three are having breakfast. She tells them she’s in! Naomi reveals the reason behind the sudden change of heart thanks to Google alerts. She tells the others she has alerts on Val because it’s important to "keep your enemies close!" Valeria apologizes to the group and Brianna recaps what’s about to happen, “a mom, a church lady, a washed up musician, and a disgraced daytime tv host” are going to close out the BET’s in 4 days…

A montage plays as they rehearse, rapping, dancing, visiting the theatre where they’ll be performing. Lil Muffin shows up and they rehearse together. The group starts to freestyle focusing on their new personalities vs old and just as Brianna finishes her verse about her cheating husband, Jeff shows up revealing that he has cancer. He asks her to come home, because he doesn’t want to tell the kids alone.

She goes with him and he tells her he’s been researching and watching Grey's Anatomy (synergy at its finest). He posits a theory that the cancer impared his judgement and led to his cheating! But, she’s having none of this. She’s mad that she can't even be pissed about his cheating because he “caught cancer.” She tells him “I want nothing more than the absolute pleasure of nursing you back to health and then leaving your ass.” As for the BET’s, she's still gonna perform.

Back in LA Valeira and Naomi chat about their lives and Val asks about Jojo's dad. Naomi says he wasn't ready to be a dad. Val shares her past as a foster kid and gives Naomi advice about trying to be more involved in her daughter’s life. She then mentions how she “let the one relationship I know was real slip away." Just then Eric walks up and Val embraces him. He and Naomi exchange a look.

Jill encounters Lil Muffin in the bathroom, and the young rapper has been crying. Jill asks her real name, which she reveals is Lauren. She gives advice about the industry and who is behind the persona, because once the fame is gone she won’t know who she is. Lauren listens, and then invites the Nasty B’s to her house that night. Before she leaves, she offers Jill some coke. She seems tempted but declines. That’s right, Jill, you know better!

When the girls arrive at Lauren's house for another practice session, they find her passed out on the floor. They call 911 and get her to a hospital. Her manager is not happy that Lil Muffin was taken to a county hospital and wants her out of there. But the girls fight for her to get some long term help. Jill even slaps the manager.

Back at the hotel, the quartet argues about what went down and how to continue with Valeria saying she felt the magic when they got back together. Jill confesses she's gay and is in love but feels bad for her husband. With all (?) of their secrets out in the open, the group makes up, determined to get back together even if the show's off. Lauren comes by and thanks the girls saying "I’m not used to people looking out for me.” She tells the girls she's doing the show, but not without them. Another montage features Naomi singing and the scenes flashback to Jojo and the Nasty B’s, including Jill who calls her husband and says they need to talk.

Lil Muffin takes the stage at BET awards and says it’s an honor to be here, but then she gives the Nasty B’s their own spotlight. Brianna starts the performance then stops and says “I used to be a nasty bitch, but tonight I'm a queen!” As with their freestyling, each takes a verse and Jill very publicly announces she’s in love and has kissed a girl. Tina watches from home with happy tears in her eyes.

6 Months Later…

The group looks up at a billboard highlighting a world tour with Lil Muffin and Queens. That’s right, the Nasty Bitches are no more! Brianna delivers the last last line, “a mom, a washed up musician, a disgraced daytime tv host, a lesbian church lady, and a young rapper fresh out of rehab are going on a world tour?” Yep.


Queens airs Tuesdays at 10pm ET/PT on ABC and streams next day on Hulu

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