- 1 Season
BAPs is an American reality television series that aired on the Lifetime network in 2014. The title, an abbreviation of Black American Princesses, puts the spotlight on an exclusive, opulent, and tight-knit group of African-American friends from St. Louis who self-identify as "B.A.P.S"; a term originally coined to describe a subset of high society African-American individuals, living life to the fullest with their wealth, charm, beauty, and material extravagance. The unscripted show, created and produced by Asylum Entertainment, does not shy away from ruffling a few feathers by exploring racial and cultural identity through the lens of this particular social clique. BAPs takes viewers on a rollercoaster journey that delves into the friendship, drama, opulence, personal development, and life altering decisions and experiences of its central characters. The series revolves around six key cast members, namely Anisha, Kristen, Gina, Jason, Riccarda, and Brandon. Each has a unique yet intertwined story to tell, shedding light on their dynamic friendships, family situations, business ventures, and evolving personal lives. The series compellingly navigates the bonds and dichotomy in their relationships – lavishing in high-end luxury and privilege, but also facing life's trials, bitterness and backbiting amidst rare instances of falling out. Anisha is a self-proclaimed BAP who is on a quest to establish her own identity and break away from her family's expectations. Kristen, a diva since birth, is seen juggling her roles as a mother, wife, and businesswoman. Gina is the widow of an old-money millionaire and is constantly attempting to get back into the dating scene. Jason, the only male BAP, is an upfront businessman who's regularly caught in the crossfire of friendly banter and drama. Riccarda is deemed the peacemaker of the group, but still holds her own, and Brandon is the social butterfly who is also Anisha’s cousin. Episodically, BAPs tells everyday stories embedded with situations that are both relatable and unique to the black elite. There’s a fair share of luxurious parties, penthouses, jaunts in designer wear, and being ferried around in Rolls-Royces. At the same time, the show doesn't gloss over personal hardships and the struggle of maintaining a facade of perfection amidst social scrutiny. Viewers are given an exclusive, front-row pass to the privileged lives of these flamboyant individuals who aspire to epitomize the idea of 'Black Excellence.' The choice to set the show in the vibrant city of St. Louis – a city with vibrant diversity – adds an interesting dynamic and grounds the grandeur and extravagance into a more culturally rooted and relatable sphere. BAPs, at its very core, exposes viewers to an often unseen side of African-American wealth, showcasing their relatively unshared lifestyle of luxury, their resilient friendships, and the personal and professional struggles they often face. It's an insightful display of their attempts to sustain their legacies, build their futures, and stand up to the perception of their status while still honoring their history in a changing society. Overall, BAPs gives audiences a snapshot of what it's like to be at the pinnacle of African-American society in St. Louis, replete with all its ups, downs, and in-betweens. The series offers an intriguing and empathy-evoking exploration of its subjects - not just as members of an upper-class social tier but as real, flawed individuals who lead commendably complex and ambitious lives - at the intersection of race, class, and reality TV. Beyond the camera glare and glamour, the show manages to peel back the layers of these privileged African-American lives, making it not just an entertaining watch but also a sociologically noteworthy series about an often underrepresented tranche of American society.