‘Harlem’ Aims To Show The Wide Scope Of Black Women

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The hit series “Harlem” is back for its second season, and the cast were a bit surprised at the fervor fans have for the show when it premiered last year.

“The audience, you know, showed up. And when they showed up, they liked what they saw and they said something about it. They didn’t keep it to themselves. They passed the word. They told a friend, ‘Let’s watch this, let’s do a watch party, let’s all watch together,’ whatever it may be, and really came in and continue to give us that support,” said actor Megan Good. “I think we were a little surprised at how big it got, you know, and seeing people from different countries and being in different countries and people recognizing you and, you know, that was definitely–yeah, I don’t think we anticipated what it’s become, but we’re super, super grateful.”

The series follows four friends as they navigate life and love in the historic neighborhood of Harlem in New York, often referred to as the “Mecca of Black America.” In season two, after blowing up her career and disrupting her love life, Camille (Good) has to figure out how to put the pieces back together; Tye (Jerrie Johnson) considers her future; Quinn (Grace Byers) goes on a journey of self-discovery; and Angie’s (Shoniqua Shandai) career takes a promising turn, according to a press release.

Byers believes part of the success of the show is due to the breadth of the characters, and showing various scopes of African Americans, not often seen on TV.

“When I heard so many people, like I was actually very, very shocked when a lot of people were like, ‘Oh my gosh, I see myself in Quinn.’ And I was like, ‘Really? Oh, my goodness!’ you know what I mean? Because I think that Quinn is very specific in a lot of ways, just as each of the other characters are,” said Byers. “And so, it’s a beautiful thing when people see themselves in Angie, see themselves in Tye or Camille. And so, I think that that is a testament just to the fact that Black people, Black women, Black men are not a monolith.”

The series also touches on cultural issues and real life hot button topics, including the gentrification of the longtime Black neighborhood.

“I specifically love so much just the mention of the Whole Foods that’s now in Harlem and changing it. Because I remember going back to Harlem and like when I was maybe like 22 and what stood out to me was the Starbucks. And I was like, ‘What in the world?’ So, like, it’s just interesting how just these, there’s these franchises that weren’t there before but are such a huge marker an indication of how the environment has shifted,” said Shandai. “I think you can’t tell a story about, or have Harlem as a backdrop, and not show that because it’s such a humongous thing that’s happening there. But it has happened in so many Black cities all over America. So, it would be such a disservice to us to not show that.”

“Harlem” season two is now streaming on Prime Video.

 

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