Harlem, the new series written and created by Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip) releases December 3rd and we think this show is definitely one to watch. For those of you who may not be familiar with the show, here’s the synopsis:
Harlem is a new single-camera comedy following four stylish and ambitious best girlfriends in Harlem NYC, the mecca of Black culture in America. Camille (Meagan Good) is a popular young anthropology professor with extensive knowledge of the dating norms of many cultures, but has a hard time navigating her own love life; Tye (Jerrie Johnson) is a successful, queer dating-app creator who prefers keeping vulnerability—and romantic partners—at arm’s length; Quinn (Grace Byers) is a hopeless romantic and trust-fund fashion designer who is trying to give back to the world while running a struggling business; Angie (Shoniqua Shandai) is a confident, vibrant, and filter-free singer and actress who also lives rent-free and fabulously with Quinn. Together, they level up from their 20s into the next phase of their careers, relationships, and big city dreams.
This series is our new obsession, and we highly recommend checking it out. If you’re a fan of Girls Trip, then you’re going to love this. We put together a list of 6 reasons why we think you need to check out Harlem.
As we mentioned, if you love the film Girls Trip, Harlem is a series you want to watch. I can also say, if you’re a fan of classic shows like Living Single and Girlfriends which featured groups of Black women who were best friends and highly successful, watching Harlem will give you a bit of nostalgia.
Growing up I was a fan of these shows, so I was excited to see Harlem. It’s not often we get shows with Black women that represent them in a real way. Often times we see Black women in roles where they are constantly fighting with or competing against one another. That’s not what shows like Living Single, or Girlfriends did. They were shows about Black women having real friendships who supported one another.
Harlem does the same. Camille (Good), Quinn (Byers), Tye (Johnson), and Angie (Shandai) are great friends. Of course, they have their moments where they fight but what friends don’t? what is amazing about all of them is how supportive they are. They have each other’s backs, and they empower each other. As a Black woman, it’s so refreshing to see a show with successful Black women being best friends.
This cast is amazing. It’s full of familiar faces not just the ones playing the main characters. In addition to the four talented ladies who star in this show, the great Whoopi Goldberg, and Jasmine Guy both have roles. We were already sold on this casting when we saw the show’s trailer but when we saw these icons, we definitely couldn’t pass it up.
The way it highlights issues faced by Black women
One of the things I love about Harlem is that it highlights a lot of important issues Black women face. Episode 7, ‘The Strong Black Woman,’ is an incredibly powerful one to watch. It deals with the positive and negative connotations behind the term “strong Black woman.” All four of the ladies are dealing with their own personal struggles and it highlights their vulnerability. Black women are often seen as strong and while that’s great, it also makes people assume that we cannot be vulnerable or soft like women of other races.
Something else the episode touches on which I felt to my very soul was the healthcare system. Black people have a rocky relationship with the healthcare system, and it’s been that way for centuries. Black women in particular have a very difficult past with the healthcare system (see Henrietta Lacks).
We are typically not taken seriously when we go to the doctor and often times doctors assume what we say is “all in our heads.” Tye, is faced with that very situation after a major health scare. I cannot begin to express how angry I was watching her try to talk to the doctor about what was going on with her. What Tracy Oliver did with the episode was something that showcases a major problem that needs to be resolved. We had an interview with her and when we release it, you’ll get some insight on why she felt it was so important to do an episode like this one.
‘Get Out’ The Musical
Yup, you read that right, there really is a ‘Get Out‘ musical being performed in this show. Angie is trying to get her career back on track so she’s taking on whatever creative projects she can. The ‘Get Out’ musical seems like a good way to go. She’s hesitant at first but she’s convinced it will be her ‘Hamilton’-like moment. Although we don’t see them go full force with the entire musical, the rehearsal sequence that showcases Chris falling into “the sunken place” is quite entertaining.
Harlem is full of stylish looks that we can’t get over. The fashion is amazing. We’re obsessed with Quinn and Camille’s outfits but also the amazing suits Tye rocks at work. We definitely wouldn’t mind getting to wear some of the clothes Quinn has designed because her outfits are fire. These ladies all dress for success whether they’re rocking street clothes or business suits.
The Love Story
There are a lot of hookups on this show, and everyone is trying to find love. Tracy Oliver does a great job showing what it’s like to try and do just that in the age of social media. Dating is hard for Camille, Quinn, Angie, and Tye. Camille is focused on her career and working to get promoted as a full-time anthropology professor. As she’s doing that, her ex-boyfriend Ian (Tyler Lepley) has returned after being away in Paris for five years. Their breakup was hard and now that he’s back, Camille’s forced to confront her feelings once more.
Quinn is majorly struggling in the dating world. She is looking for her prince charming but has to go through a ton of frogs to get to him. She’s got a little bit of naivety and has a lot of missteps. When she does seem like she’s found someone she can have a relationship with, a new revelation comes in that is completely unexpected.
Angie is Angie. She’s a free spirit but she also wants to be loved just like anyone else. She wants her Mister Right too and her hunt to find him in episode six, is one of my favorites and she too has some unexpected results.
My girl Tye is another one with some rocky relationships. That’s something interesting considering she’s the creator of a highly successful dating app for queer POC. While she’s doing well with her business, her love life could be a lot better.
Harlem is such a great show and no matter what race you are, you will find yourself in these women. They all have qualities that are relatable. As I watched it I often found myself saying at times I was a Camille and others, I was a Quinn. Tracy Oliver created magic with this series and after that cliffhanger, we really hope that a season two is on the horizon.
Harlem is available to stream December 3rd on Amazon Prime Video.