Similar to “Girlfriends,” the new series “Harlem” is a must-watch for millennial women who support each other in their professional and personal lives. Starring an ensemble cast including Meagan Good (Camille), Jerrie Johnson (Tye), Shoniqua Shandai (Angie), and Grace Byers (Quinn), the Prime Video series follows a group of 20-something girlfriends navigating life and love in the mecca of Black culture — Harlem, New York.
The rom-com series also stars Robert Ri’chard, who plays Shawn, a young father looking for love while working at a local strip club.
ABS spoke with Ri’chard and others from the “Harlem” cast about their budding romances this season and what the future holds for season 2.
Robert Ri’chard and Meagan Good are old friends, who starred on the 90s puppet sitcom “Cousin Skeeter.” It ran from 1998 to 2001 on Nickelodeon.
“Obviously everyone knows me and Meagan have tons of history together,” said Ri’chard. “We’re sort of the iconic Bobby and Nina. She’s all grown up and so am I.”
In episode 4 of “Harlem,” (spoiler alert) Good mistakes Ri’chard’s character, Shawn, for an old high school boyfriend, also named Bobby. Shawn gives Quinn (Byers) a lapdance in one scene while Camille (Good) watches in shock. Ri’chard said the show’s creator, Tracy Oliver, and producers came up with the idea to introduce Shawn “in this way for all the ladies.”
“I’m taking the clothes off doing the lap dance and then immediately fall in love with Quinn’s character,” the actor revealed about his relationship on the series. “The first morning they’re together, he’s out cooking for her. Shawn’s the type of man every woman deserves to date.”
Shawn and Quinn spent the night together after leaving the club, where Shawn’s son, J.J. (Tyler Williams), walks in on the couple in bed. Although the night was slated to be a one-night stand, Quinn ended up sticking around much longer than she anticipated.
“I think there’s a really good chemistry. He represents what men should be when they fall in love with a woman and I love that for this character. I love Shawn,” said Ri’chard.
Most women enjoyed Ri’chard’s stripper performance just as much as his performance in the male stripper film “Chocolate City.” Despite potentially being typecast as a stripper, the actor said as long as he’s getting paid, he’ll always take his shirt off.
“First of all, it’s in my contract. I’m taking off my shirt in every role. We all know that, so that’s going to happen forever,” Ri’chard laughed. “No matter if I play [a] military [role] or something, it’s going to be a scene with my shirt off. But second of all, I think its just a lot easier for me because everyone knows how many years I’ve been doing this.”
He added, “I’m an Emmy Award-winning actor. I’ve played tons of characters, and I don’t take my foot off the gas.”
Towards the end of the series, Byers’ character Quinn, while bowling with Isabela and J.J, learns that Isabela is gay.
While Shawn keeps Quinn excited, she begins to questions her dating life after meeting, Juani Feliz‘s character, Isabela. Quinn’s mother (Jasmine Guy) enlisted her daughter to style Isabela and reshape her image in the media. But it looks like Quinn and Isabela could potentially take their budding friendship to another level.
“Quinn has a lot going on. [She’s] still dating Shawn and has really strong feelings for Shawn. I think Isabela would be patient enough to see what happens through the two relationships that Quinn has,” said Feliz. “I think [Isabela’s] also just going to be someone that’s going to help Quinn realize that what she’s looking for in terms of love and relationship, she can find in anybody. Ultimately, I do want them to put their friendship first.”
Meanwhile, Sullivan James, who plays Camille’s boyfriend, Jameson, is intertwined in his own love triangle with Camille’s ex Ian, portrayed by “P-Valley” actor Tyler Lepley.
“I imagine there would be continued conflict between characters,” said James, sharing his predictions for season 2. “But I also think … in playing this role as an actor, I know this is about Camille, Meagan’s character, and her storyline. So it’s really whatever helps tell that story in the best way possible.”
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