BET+ recently held an exclusive affair that celebrated the endearingly imperfect love story of a standout Sistas couple.
On Wednesday, the premium streaming service hosted a Zatima launch party in honor of the premiere of the BET+ and Tyler Perry Studios series.
The event held at Atlanta’s 5 Church Buckhead was bustling with attendees including Zac and Fatima themselves, Devale Ellis, and Crystal Renee Hayslett.
The dynamic duo was joined by their Zatima castmates Danielle LaRoach, Nzinga Imani, Remington Hoffman, Cameron Fuller, and Guyviaud Joseph.
Also on hand were Devale and Crystal’s fellow Sistas stars, KJ Smith, Novi Brown, and Anthony Dalton II…
as well as actor/influencer Kendall Kyndall…
and songstress Nicci Gilbert.
Guests were treated to Zatima craft cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and fare…
and heard remarks from BET’s Executive Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer Kim Paige who welcomed attendees before Devale Ellis and Crystal Renee Hayslett broke down their characters’ journeys.
During a Q&A for the evening hosted by BOSSIP’s Managing Editor Dani Canada, Crystal detailed how her character went from having initial hang-ups about Zac to remaining steadfast in her love for him.
“I’m very loyal, sometimes to a fault, especially in relationships,” said Crystal to about relating to Fatima. “I feel like Fatima also has a spicy side to her, she will be ready to knuck if you buck but most of all, she’s very loyal.”
She also added that Fatima sees the good in Zac despite detractors because she’s self-aware and realizes that everyone has imperfections.
“I think it’s probably something that I live by myself, I always look within first. I always say, ‘I’m not perfect, so why should I expect someone else to be perfect? If I judge me, the way I judge other people, how would I feel? So I think Fatima carries a lot of it as well. I always understand where people are coming from and where they are in their walk and Fatimas does the same thing.”
As for Devale, he touched on Zac’s strides to “make life easier” for Fatima, something that he and his spouse strive to do daily in their personal life. Considering Fatima’s loyalty and nurturing of Zac, Zatima viewers will see that he’s eager to reciprocate, even though Fatima’s not entirely open to it.
“A large part of the conflict is that exact thing,” said Devale. “Zac wanted to take care of the woman of his dreams his whole life but he found a woman that doesn’t wanna be taken care of and a lot of the conflict that’s going to come in Zatima is Zac trying to do things that he believes is chivalrous, that he believe is honorable but he doesn’t realize that he may be downplaying her strengths as a woman.
“So you’ll continue to watch him grow and go through this change,” added Devale. “And I think that’s the reason why people are going to fall in love with this show.”
Devale also dished on how Zatima came to fruition after Zac and Fatima’s relationship blossomed on Sistas. According to the actor, he and Crystal manifested the spinoff series after weeks of hard work that clearly paid off.
“We were going through the pandemic the first time that Crystal and I actually got a chance to work together,” said Ellis. “We found out we were going to be working together back on season 2 of Sistas, we got the script and I was just like—‘Zac gets hit by a car driven by Fatima? Why I gotta get hit by a car?! Zac’s already been through enough!’”
“Then I said, ‘Oh she’s about to become my love interest.’ We ended up getting pushed back because of COVID so we ended up having about six weeks of rehearsing and in those six weeks of rehearsing, I think we rehearsed every day or every other day because Crystal [Run It] Hayslett, wants to run lines all the time, she always wants to run lines.”
“When people say, ‘Why is the chemistry like it is?’ That’s why, because she always wants to work and we manifested it. We read the script and I was like, ‘You know they’re gonna love us, right?’”
Before the end of the Q&A, both actors discussed their hopes for fan takeaways from the show.
According to Devale whose been married to Khadeen Ellis for 12 years but devoted to her for 20…
he wants watchers to discover that their own personal love stories “don’t have to be affirmed by anybody else.”
“If you watch season one, you’ll see the friends give their opinions and you’ll see how two people break through others people’s opinions to fight for their love.”
Zatima is streaming exclusively on BET+.
Click HERE to watch and subscribe.
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