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Cult classic film B.A.P.S. celebrated its 27th Anniversary last week. Director Robert Townsend shared behind-the-scenes photos to commemorate the momentous occasion. To continue honoring the underrated film, we have comprised a list of B.A.P.S. fun facts inside.

B.A.P.S. first debuted theatrically on March 28, 1997. The film made $7.3 million at the box office worldwide. It did not receive rave reviews initially with critics condemning Townsend’s direction, the storyline of the film and the casting choices.

The screenplay was written by actress, writer and psychologist Troy Beyer, who also wrote the adored film, Love Don’t Cost A Thing, starring Nick Cannon and Christina Milian.

B.A.P.S. (which stands for Black American Princesses) tells a rags-to-riches story about two best friends: Nisi and Mickey working as waitresses from Georgia. The best friend duo had dreams to start their own hair salon and restaurant business. The pair fly to Los Angeles to audition for a music video and win a $10,000 cash prize. After their audition failed, they met with a limo driver who works with a Billionaire and invites them to live there to befriend a dying billionaire.

The film stars Halle Berry as Nisi and the late actress Natalie Desselle-Reid as Mickey, Ian Richardson as Manley, the butler, Martin Landau plays Mr. Blakemore the dying billionaire, Pierre Edwards and AJ Johnson as their broke boyfriends who also had dreams of starting their own cab business. While Troy play as Mr. Blakemore’s attorney in the film.

The movie was set in Georgia and Beverly Hills, California with a budget of $10 million. The film had countless celebrity cameos including LL Cool J, Bernie Mac, Faizon Love, Dennis Rodeman, Heavy D, Howard Hewett, Leon Robinson, Rudy Ray Moore, and Karlie Redd as an extra before the “Love & Hip Hop” fame.

Critics like Roger Ebert were not impressed with the movie at all. Aside from the critics, even cast member Edwards believed it would be “corny.” Beyer, herself, wasn’t pleased with the final product.

“When I saw the final cut, I was so devastated because I really believed that my words had not honestly made it onto the screen,” Beyer shared in an interview with Indie Wire back in September 1998. “The director was a writer/director himself and it was the first time he had directed someone else’s writing. He took the liberty of changing stuff as he shot the film. At the end of the day, when I saw the film, I hated it. I was really embarrassed and it was too late for me to take my name off the picture. Then I got killed by the critics. Me! The writer! I just thought I’m gonna take the money from this awful experience and put it into my own film. I’m gonna direct it and make sure my words make it to the screen. If the critics try to kill me now, there’s nothing they can say that’s gonna hurt me because I know that I did my very best. Those are my words on screen and I stand by them. So I took the money from B.A.P.S to make my movie.”

Despite the critics sharing their opinions about the film, it went on to gain a huge cult following thanks to Black movie lovers.

There are several quotable lines that fans relish in today. The costumes have become popularized for Halloween and the trends seen onscreen have become staples even in the music community. Artists Doja Cat and Rico Nasty wore similarly styled costumes for their video “Tia Tamera.”

Happy Anniversary to a cult classic!

Check out fun facts about B.A.P.S. below:

  1. It marked Halle Berry’s first leading role in a comedy.
  2. B.A.P.S. stands for Black American Princesses, ironically Natalie Desselle-Reid plays the Step-Sister of Cinderella the same year in Cinderella (1997).
  3. Halle Berry was in the midst of her divorce from David Justice during the filming of this film, which she said helped her deal with the depression she had from that public split.
  4. Natalie Desselle’s first leading role, following her film debut in Set It Off a year earlier.
  5. Actress Troy Byer, who also wrote the film’s screenplay, was disappointed by the film’s final product.
  6. Black film lovers made the movie a cult classic despite awful ratings.
  7. It was Pierre Edward’s film debut. He also appeared in the film How to Be a Player with co-star Natalie Desselle a few months after this film’s release.
  8. There were several cameos like artist Heavy D, who Nissi was setand professional basketball star Dennis Rodman made a cameo in the film.
  9. Legendary Black costume designer Ruth E. Carter was behind the memorable and attention grabbing outfits throughout the film.
  10. In 2020, Playwright and producer Je’Caryous Johnson adapted the film into a theatrical play. Natalie Desselle-Reid who portrays Mickey in the film was cast as Mickey and prepared to play the role that was until the 2020 pandemic that caused everything to shut down and Natalie’s passing in December 2020.

    In 2023, Johnson announced that B.A.P.S is back in production on stage this time starring Angela White aka “Blac Chyna” as Nisi and Inayah Lamis as Mickey.

Livin’ Large & Takin’ Charge: Celebrate B.A.P.S. 27th Anniversary With These Fun Facts  was originally published on

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