One of the four actresses who play 30-something Harlemites on the show says the comparisons are flattering, if not accurate
Run the World actress Corbin Reid says she understands the comparisons of her show to the 90s classic HBO series Sex and the City. But aside from the four women living and loving in New York City that the shows have in common, Reid says that’s where the comparisons should end.
(Even though the two shows also share a high-fashion sensibility and fashion consultant Patricia Field.)
For one, actresses Reid, who plays Sondi, Bresha Webb (Renee) Amber Stevens West (Whitney) and Andrea Bordeaux (Ella) are all African-American. Sex and the City was criticized during its run for its lack of racial diversity. Jennifer Hudson and Blair Underwood, in small roles, were the two most prominent African-American guest stars.
And the show takes place in and around Harlem, an area of New York City hardly ever mentioned or visited during SATC’s six-season run.
“We’ve gotten it a lot and it’s an honor to get that. That show’s iconic. I grew up on that show,” Reid told People in recent interview.
“Leigh Davenport, who wrote and created (Run the World), made a really funny point. She was like, ‘That’s fine. Compare us to Sex and the City all you want, but make sure we get all the seasons and the two movie deals.’ It’s like, just make sure we get treated as that franchise [did] and we’re good. We’ll take it.”
Girlfriends, the Mara Brock Akil sitcom that ran for eight seasons on UPN and the CW starring Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks, Jill Marie Jones, and Persia White is probably a better comparison. That show, like SATC, revolved around a main character, but Run the World is more of a genuine ensemble.
Reid is a Minnesota native who stars as a PhD student with a complicated relationship with her faculty advisor played by Stephen Bishop of Being Mary Jane fame. Her career began on Broadway but playing Sondi represents a breakthrough for her as well as a role she instantly felt at home with.
“All of these women are me. These are the women I know,” Reid told People. “They sound like me, they act like me. They walk like me. They look like me. It just felt like the perfect pair of jeans. But when I got Sondi, it was like, ‘This is me. This is very, very much me.’ So I was very, very excited about it.”
Run the World also differs from Sex and the City in that the women are, for the most part, not looking for love, but figuring out how to navigate it. Sondi and Whitney are in committed relationships while Ella and Renee are trying to figure out how to get into and out of a relationship, respectively.
The show, if nothing else, proves that even good love can be challenging.
“I just think it explores more of their life than Sex and the City did, in terms of their careers,” Reid says. “You really see them in the workplace, and a lot of the conflict and the growth happens there.
And [you see them] in their friendship, like I said before, and even a little bit of family stuff comes into play, which is nice. The men are definitely in it and they’re a huge important part of the show and their relationships are a part of the show. But the whole drama of it doesn’t center around that.”
Run the World airs on Starz Sunday night at 8:30 p.m.
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