'Queenie’s Dionne Brown & Bellah on working with 'Fresh Prince' legend & their character playlists

7 June 2024, 15:29

Watch the trailer for Queenie

By Anna Suffolk

Dionne Brown & Bellah from Channel 4's 'Queenie' sat down with Capital XTRA to speak about working with 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's Geoffrey and their ultimate character playlists.

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The stars of Channel 4's Queenie Dionne Brown (Queenie) and R&B singer Bellah (Kyazike) have opened up about working with Fresh Prince of Bel-Air legend Joseph Marcell (Geoffrey) and which artists are on their character playlists.

Channel 4's television adaptation of Queenie, the bestselling novel by Candice Carty-Williams, has been released and stars Dionne and Bellah exclusively told Capital XTRA how they prepared for shooting and the flowers they've received from fellow actors and musicians.

Dubbed the 'Black Bridget Jones' by the author, Queenie tells the story of a 25-year-old Journalist navigating the trials and tribulations of her mid 20s and everything that comes along with it.

Queenie tells the story of a South London stalwart, journalist, loyal friend, not-so-loyal daughter and
granddaughter, a sometimes catastrophist, an occasional mess.
Queenie (Dionne Brown) tells the story of a South London stalwart, journalist, loyal friend, not-so-loyal daughter andgranddaughter, a sometimes catastrophist, an occasional mess. Picture: Channel 4

The star-studded cast includes newcomer Dionne Brown in the titular role, R&B singer Bellah as her best friend Kyazike, Jon Ponting as ex-boyfriend Tom, Sally Phillips plays Queenie's boss Gina, and TV legend Joseph Marcell stars as Queenie's grandfather, Wilfred.

Joseph is most known for playing Geoffrey Butler on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, with Dionne telling Capital XTRA that working with him was "sweet" and "lovely".

"There were a couple of times I was looking at him, having grown up watching you, and you are in front of me playing my grandfather. I am a winner!"

Joseph Marcell plays Queenie's Grandad Wilfred.
Joseph Marcell plays Queenie's Grandad Wilfred. Picture: Channel 4

Bellah added: "Moments like having Joseph Marcell around makes you think at one point you thought so many things were so unattainable and out of reach, and now you are on a level playing field."

The pair have rightfully received flowers and praise for their depiction as best friends Queenie and Kyazike, with Bellah telling Capital XTRA she was told "you can actually act" after being most known as an R&B singer.

As for the soundtrack to Queenie, the television show features music from the likes of Rachel Chinouriri, Debbie, Arlo Parks and Jorja Smith. Bellah also produced and sung an exclusive track which "summarises everything that had happened in the series" as it plays out in the final episode's credits.

Dionne Brown and Bellah play besties Queenie and Kyazike.
Dionne Brown and Bellah play besties Queenie and Kyazike. Picture: Getty

Before heading onto set, Bellah told Capital XTRA the types of music she played to get into the character of Kyazike: "Lots of Afrobeats when getting my makeup done, especially Tems and Ayra Starr", calling the latter's new album "impeccable".

On set, Bellah's hit song 'Evil Eye' was played "lots" by cast and crew, saying it is "just one of those songs!"

For the titular role of Queenie, Dionne revealed she actually ended up deleting her character playlist - "I needed the storage!"

However, to get into character for Queenie, Dionne revealed she played more softer sounds, from the likes of Cleo Sol and Raveena.

"Queenie isn't Kyazike, I needed to settle myself," Dionne told Capital XTRA about her preparation for playing the nuanced role.

Queenie doesn't shy away from topical subject matters, including that of mental health and turbulent family relationships as the titular character stars to navigate her life away from ex-boyfriend Tom (Jon Ponting).

Across the eight episodes, Queenie laughs and cries in a refreshingly honest take on British-Jamaican womanhood, with Dionne reflecting on the reception of the show via her DMs from "Black women thanking me for making them feel so visible."

All episodes of Queenie are available to stream on Channel 4.

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