'Harlem' Creator Tracy Oliver on Highlighting Black Women Friendships in Prime Video Series (Exclusive)

Harlem is back for a second season. Created by Girls Trip writer Tracy Oliver, the show follows a close friendship group of four successful Black women living and working in Harlem, New York. Starring Meagan Good as Camille, Jerrie Johnson as Tye, Grace Byers as Quinn, and Shoniqua Shandai as Angie, they rely on one another to get them through the ebbs and flows of life. Oliver is notorious for her love of centering her projects on the dynamic relationships between Black women.

Ahead of the Season 2 premiere, PopCulture.com spoke with Oliver on why the subject matter is so important, and what viewers may be surprised by this time around New episodes drop weekly on Prime Video. Watch the full video interview on our YouTube channel

PC: Congrats on Season 2 of Harlem. Now, we've been waiting for what seems like forever, so we're finally excited that it's here. What do you think registered so much with viewers that it got a second season and picked up so quickly?

TO: I think the cast and the chemistry. I think that they, as a foursome, they represent a lot of different aspects of Blackness, and they look different and come from different backgrounds, and I think they have incredible chemistry, and that's just because, honestly, they love each other in real life. And so that translates really well on screen. But yeah, I think at the heart of it was just a lot of great friendship stories, and I think the romance was fun, but I think really if those four didn't work, then we wouldn't have a show. I think we were really excited about them.

Yeah, it's fun to see their offscreen chemistry transfer onscreen because we see obviously through their Instagram interactions that they're actually very close. So the characters, like you said, they're also different. They all give each view or something completely different to register with which character storyline this season. Who do you think the audience will be most shocked by in season two?

Without giving too much away, I think that what Camille and Ian are dealing with and talking about might resonate. And the reason why I think so is because I'm finding it coming up in my life and my friends' lives. When you hit mid-thirties, everyone starts to have the baby conversation if you haven't already had a kid, and what that means. Are you going to freeze your eggs? Are you going to have a kid with the person that you're with if you're not with someone at the moment? So I think there's just a lot of questions and conversations that are naturally happening around that, and that since we're playing it out on this show, I think it might resonate with people.

Now, you spoke briefly about the importance of highlighting stories about friendship, and you've become synonymous with projects centered around the Black female friendship experience with this show. And then again, obviously with Girls Trip, which you've confirmed finally our sequel is coming. Why do you think that this specific theme is so necessary?

For me, I just remember there was, I would say five, seven years ago, there was a period where there was just a lot of cattiness and people throwing drinks in people's faces and sleeping with each other's men. And that was becoming kind of the norm and the representation of female friendships.

The whole reality TV genre. Gotcha.

Yes. I mean, look, I'm not holier than thou. I watch that stuff, too, and enjoy it, but I also was like, "We're missing some of the amazing parts of what it means to be a Black woman." Which is, we're incredibly loyal and supportive and loving, and we get through a lot of tough times by relying on our female friends and our sisters and our family members. And so I was like, "I really want to bring that back." So I just really wanted to have more of a love story centered around women getting along with each other and actually not being negative and throwing drinks in faces. So it was kind of just an anti-message to that part of what I was seeing.

Harlem Season 2 is currently airing via Prime Video, with episodes dropping on Wednesdays. See a clip from our interview with Tracy Oliver above and watch all of our full Harlem interviews on YouTube.