The cast of the popular TV show “Harlem,” which just came back for a second season, was surprised by how well the first season went over with viewers.
“The audience, as you may know, attended. They liked what they saw when they arrived, so they said something. They didn’t just keep it between them. They spread the news. They came in and really gave us that support, saying things like, “Let’s watch this, let’s do a watch party, let’s all watch, whatever it may be,” said actor Megan Good. “I don’t think we anticipated what it’s become, but we’re super, super grateful,” they said. “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.”
The four friends are followed as they make their way through love and life in New York’s famed Harlem, also known as the “Mecca of Black America.” According to a press release, in season two, Angie’s (Shoniqua Shandai) career takes a promising turn, Tye (Jerrie Johnson) considers her future, Quinn (Grace Byers) embarks on a journey of self-discovery, and Camille (Good) must figure out how to put the pieces back together after blowing up her career and upsetting her love life.
Byers thinks that the diversity of the characters and the portrayal of various African Americans—who are not frequently seen on television—is a contributing factor in the show’s success.
“I was actually very, very shocked when I heard so many people say, ‘Oh my gosh, I see myself in Quinn,'” said the speaker. And I thought, “Really? You know what I mean when I say, “Oh, my goodness?” Quinn, like all the other characters, is very distinct in my opinion in a number of ways, said Byers. “Therefore, it’s lovely when people recognize themselves in Angie, Tye, or Camille. And so, in my opinion, that just proves that Black people, Black women, and Black men are not one homogenous group.
The gentrification of the historically Black neighborhood is one of the hot-button issues and cultural issues that are also discussed in the series.
“I love the mention of the Whole Foods that is now in Harlem and changing it so much, in particular. Because when I went back to Harlem when I was maybe 22 years old, the Starbucks really stood out to me. And I thought, “What on earth?” So, it’s kind of interesting how just these franchises, which weren’t there before but are such a big sign of how the environment has changed, are there now, said Shandai. “I believe that since it is such a huge thing that is happening there, you can’t tell a story about it or use Harlem as a backdrop and not show that. However, it has occurred in a large number of Black cities across America. Therefore, failing to demonstrate that would be such a disservice to us.
Season two of “Harlem” is now available to watch on Prime Video.