“Harlem” on the rise!
BOSSIP Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden spoke with “Harlem” Creator, Executive Producer and Writer, Tracy Oliver about the new show’s diversity of characters and casting process.
“For me, the diversity is across the board, even with how they look,” Oliver told BOSSIP. “That was a deliberate choice of mine and I always approach casting that way because I want to make sure as many Black women as possible see some version of themselves. You can’t really do that if everybody has the same hair texture, if everybody has the same body type, or the same height or even the same cultural background. With Grace, she’s Caribbean and I wanted to make sure she could use the Caribbean accent because on “Empire” she wasn’t allowed to. I was like I would love to embrace that because that’s so much of New York culture is Caribbean culture too. That was important, physically getting a good mix, and I really wanted them to have distinct voices and points of views with life and with Tye being queer, that was important too. A lot of shows like “Living Single” and “Sex And The City,” were like straight women and gay men. Queer women were not part of that narrative and I have so many queer women friends that it didn’t seem right in 2021 to not have a queer woman in their circle.”
Oliver also spoke about casting Whoopi Goldberg and Jasmine Guy, describing them as her 90’s heroes.
“I did not think that both of them would do the show. You go out to your dream people and you think ‘they’ll probably pass.’ But when they both said yes I was freaking out, Jasmine Guy was like ‘Calm down.’ And with Whoopi I think I cried a little bit. Actually I know I cried. It was a big deal to me. I told her, ‘You have no idea. You’re Sister Mary Clarence.’ And Whoopi laughed. She was like ‘You’re so silly.’ She was reading the scripts and she’s a comedienne so I’d hoped she’d laugh but I was like ‘Whoopi thinks I’m funny!’
Oliver also spoke about casting newcomer Sullivan Jones as Meagan Good’s love interest Jameson, noting that the chemistry between them was incredible even when they tested together online, and moreso in person!
“So much so, I reconceived Season 2 because of him,” Oliver told BOSSIP.
Now that’s a good exclusive. We’re excited to learn Jameson may be hanging in there with Camille for Season 2.
Have you guys started watching “Harlem” yet? We’re dying to hear what you think and what your favorite episodes and characters are.