The final episode of Cocktails With Queens was filled with tears, tea about the show’s cancellation, and calls for a TV network to give the program a new home.
The Fox Soul talk show streamed for the last time on Monday (June 12), with hosts Claudia Jordan, Vivica A. Fox, Syleena Johnson, and LisaRaye McCoy raising their glasses to celebrate bringing over 150 episodes to the digital platform.
“We turning up tonight,” Syleena said as she toasted the queens and their loyal court of viewers.
The hosts discussed past viral episodes and how the show had evolved since it launched in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When we first started, it was just a pandemic something to get us dressed up and do something different on Mondays,” LisaRaye explained. “We didn’t have great lighting, then cut to — they tried to bring all the lighting in the world to our houses and we were like, ‘wait a minute, this is not a studio!'”
Syleena said the show focused attention on important issues affecting the Black community. She urged viewers “to continue to advocate for each other, for Black shows, and Black women.”
LisaRaye revealed the ladies developed close bonds over the past three years.
“It’s much closer than when we began and just knew each other from afar,” she explained.
Claudia wiped away tears as she read a comment a viewer posted on the live YouTube stream, saying the show helped them get through “a dark space during the pandemic.”
“That’s why I’m emotional right now,” Claudia said. “I want y’all to know this is not something we’re choosing. We don’t want this to end.”
As Urban Hollywood 411 previously reported, Cocktails With Queens was canceled as Fox Soul changes management and retools its programming lineup. The streaming platform geared toward Black audiences is expanding Tea-G-I-F, hosted by Claudia, Funky Dineva and Al Reynolds, to five nights a week. But other shows, including The Black Report, are going away.
Some fans blamed Claudia in the comments section of Monday’s stream for the demise of Cocktails With Queens, but she said she fought unsuccessfully for the show to stay.
“This has nothing to do with Tea-G-I-F, because I made it very clear that I can do both shows,” she explained. “Times are changing right now… it’s just kind of the condition of the industry.”
She thanked Fox Soul for the opportunity, but said she’d like to see a TV network pick up the show.
“This show is too important,” Claudia said. “We were the last panel show with four Black women. There’s nothing else out there and it breaks my heart because we have so many male voices out there, and at a time when Black women feel like we’re being less and less heard, another one bites the dust.”
The program started as Out Loud With Claudia Jordan before it evolved into Cocktails With Queens.
Vivica said Claudia “planted the seed” for the panel show, which brought the ladies work during the pandemic and kept them busy.
“Queen, you helped to bless us with over 150 episodes. You filled all of our pockets [with money]. I thank you, Queen. I thank you LisaRaye for being here. I had to talk your ass into it, but I thank you for showing up. Syleena… I love you. I appreciate your voice. I appreciate your magic and your honesty. Like Syleena said, ‘Don’t y’all forget about us.'”
“This ain’t the end,” LisaRaye added. “Stay tuned.”