Drama on First Black Woman Mayor in Development at Bravo from 'Insecure' & 'Underground' Writer

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April 26th 2017

Taft Taft

Writer Ben Cory Jones ("Insecure" and "Underground) is scripting a new hour-long drama for the Bravo network (known more for their reality TV shows, although they seem to be broadening their programming with more original scripted series).

Ross Fineman (Amazon’s "Goliath") is executive producing the Universal Cable Productions project which centers on the youngest and first African American female mayor.

Her name isn't given in the report, but, assuming this is based on a true story, it would be Lelia Foley Davis, who became the first African American woman to be elected Major of a U.S. city, in Taft, Oklahoma, in 1973. She was just 31 years old at the time.

Still very much alive at 74 years old, Davis, a divorced mother of five, living on welfare at the time, raised enough money to run for Mayor of Taft, and eventually won. The drama will follow Davis as she navigates treacherous political waters in what was one of America’s most violent and poorest cities, while balancing her marriage and an illicit affair.

Ben Cory Jones Ben Cory Jones

According to the Oklahoma History Society website, Davis would eventually lose her mayoral office in the early 1980s, after serving for a decade, but she continued to serve the city. In 2000 she ran again, and won, becoming Taft's mayor once again. Later that year she made a bid for the District Thirteen seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. After receiving a majority in the Democratic primary, she lost a runoff election to Allan Harder.

She's still living in Taft.

The project is in early development, but should Bravo decide to move forward with it beyond the script the stage, there could be a meaty role here for a black actress who can play a woman in her early 30s (Davis was 31 when she was first elected).

Scribe Ben Cory Jones was also a staff writer on Amazon's "Hand of God," and is a producer on director Charles Stone III's upcoming dramedy feature "Step Sisters," which stars Megalyn Echikunwoke and is set for release some time this year.

Deadline was first to report the news on the Lelia Foley Davis project.

by Shadow And Act on April 26th 2017
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