‘Harlem’ Creator Tracy Oliver And Cast On Seeing Themselves “Unapologetically On Screen” — Contenders TV

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Amazon Prime Video kicked off the second day of Deadline’s Contenders TV event with a panel for Harlem, featuring Tracy Oliver, Meagan Good, Jerrie Johnson, Shoniqua Shandai, and Grace Byers.

“I was kind of stunned that there wasn’t a show centered on black female friendship,” says Oliver. “When I was living in New York, it was a lot more black and brown than shows like Sex and the City or Friends present New York as. I love those shows, they’re iconic and fantastic, but you want to see women that look like you.”

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Oliver created and wrote this comedy series about four girlfriends living in Harlem. Camille (Good), Tye (Johnson), Quinn (Byers), and Angie (Shandai) became friends at NYU and are now in their thirties trying to balance their love lives and their careers as they try to follow their dreams.

“There are so many shows that I grew up loving and respecting and watching but I didn’t quite see my friend group,” says Good, “and this was the first time… that I felt seen.”

“As a queer woman, with lots of queer friends, and knowing that we don’t get to see ourselves unapologetically on screen,” says Johnson, “and as a lead on screen, and the way that Tracy and the team wrote Tye… I could sit in my authenticity as a black, queer, successful woman.”

“Thinking about my younger self, and how much I needed to see myself on screen,” says Shondai, “and how much I needed to see this different vast of beauty and colors, because even when you see representation on screen, everybody still looks alike and that’s not how it is.”

“A big part of Harlem culture is the Caribbean culture,” says Byers. “That was special for me, as a Caribbean American myself, to play someone from my own culture.”

All 10 episodes of the first season of Harlem are available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, and the show has been renewed for a second season.

Deadline Contenders Television is sponsored by Apple TV+, EyepetizerFinal DraftLos Siete Misterios and Michter’s. Partners include DesaltoFilm AlUlaFour Seasons Resort MauiJason Mizrahi DesignModMDThe American Pavilion, and Tidelli.

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