Tracy Oliver is best known for delivering the 2017 action comedy Girl’s trip starring Queen Latifah, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina King. This was the role that catapulted Tiffany Haddish to stardom and was the first film written by a black woman. grossed over $100 million at the box office. Since then, Oliver hasn’t slowed down.
Now, she brings us another story of black womanhood and friendship with Prime comedy video Harlem (out now). The film follows four women at different stages of life, love, and career as they hold fast to their relationship to help them get through life. Oliver says she will always write friendship stories because of how important her relationship with her girlfriend is in her own life.
Pop Culture spoke with Oliver about the elegance of Harlem, told stories about relationships and more. She also updated the status of Girl’s trip 2. Scroll through to read our full Q&A with Oliver. (It’s also available in video form at the top of this article.)
PC: So I love the show, and one of the things that really caught my attention is that you decided to do the show in Harlem. Why choose Harlem for the setup?
COME: I choose it because when I used to live there, it was fun. Honest. I wish I had a more in-depth answer to that, but it’s very interesting. We would stay out until three or four in the morning and eat chicken and waffles, and just get drunk on the train and do a lot of crazy things. And that’s just so many cultures that you just naturally join. And then you have a lot of rich history with Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell and the Harlem Renaissance. And I was like, this is like the worst setting for a show because there’s so much going on.
And it’s something that you touch, at least in the premiere episode which is the constant change of cities like Harlem and other major metropolitan cities. Why do you feel the need to incorporate that into the show, especially interweaving with themes about… Four black women of a certain age are navigating life, love, and success. Karma?
So when I lived in Harlem, it was a lot blacker and a lot different. And then when I came back, I said, “Oh, oh.” Like it quickly tender. And the neighborhood was very different. And when we were in the writer’s room, there was this ad, this real estate. I think it was a Compass ad that went viral because it was like “Welcome to New Harlem.” And it’s like two white men stooping. And I said, “Oh, oh.” So that became like this. And it went viral because people just talked about the story like, Harlem was officially stripped of its culture. And so it feels like you’re doing a gig there, not admitting that it’s not authentic to me, and it just doesn’t feel right to just pretend the community hasn’t changed to a degree. something.
And there’s a major recurring series that focuses on Black women of a certain age group and their friendships and love lives. What do you feel makes the audience yearn for this particular format?
I think it’s an escapist and feels good. And I think that’s necessary because I think we do question it sometimes, and by us, I mean Hollywood values black people’s pain and black struggles and these kinds of sentences. that. And I think a lot of viewers just want to raise a glass of wine, watch the show, and have a good laugh with their friends. There’s a lot of bonding and friendship that can happen with shows like this, and I write for that audience. I’ve always been interested in making people laugh, making people cry, but tears of joy, unlike tears of pain and struggle. But just because you feel good about being with your friends, and in the end, Harlem is a love story between women. And those stories are always important because I think men and women may come and go in our lives, but our friends are the glue that holds us together. And I think that’s a valuable message, and yes, I think it’s absolutely necessary.
And you have become synonymous with the dynamic expression of great friendship, lasting friendship. Obviously, many people know and love you from your wonderful film, Girl’s trip. What drew you to keep exploring that whole idea? Now you mention that you feel like… Obviously, you said that friendship, more than that, is constant. It was probably the closest relationship we had. I always say, broken friendships or friendship problems are more difficult than romantic relationships. So other than that, is there anything else that adds to that whole dynamic that you want to keep exploring?
I think I’ve always been attracted to it because friends are really important in my life. My sister was like my best friend and I was never really a sister, but she became the character, the friend character in my stuff. But I talk to my girlfriends about everything, and I’m just really more interested in those conversations than men and women, because there’s a lot of fun and excitement. that we do as women together. And there’s just something always great and exciting about the family vibe. And I think the way I write friends, like friends together is like a family together. In this program, and also First Wives, and with Girl’s tripThey are as intimate as family. They joke together like a family, they talk… I don’t know if I can say talk s—. They say crazy things to each other like family and they’re such vulnerable and honest people that they can say, “Girl, take it off. You look crazy.”
Meanwhile, men can’t even get rid of those. But it’s just that honesty and vulnerability that I think women have with each other that I’ve always loved to explore. And I also love exploring friendships over time and how they develop. And so I like it very much Harlem, if it has many seasons… And Sex and the city it’s really good, but it only shows when marriage, kids and other things start to come into the picture how that affects your core friendship groups and stuff.
Now we have mentioned Girl’s trip. I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask, is there an update on the entire process for the movie? Because you know, we’re waiting.
(Sigh) That sigh was because I was also waiting. The last time I spoke to Tiffany Haddish, she said, “Girl, we’re working on this.” And I said, “Yes, it’s happening.” And then she booked like a million things. And I don’t know if it will ever be stable, but it has to be delivered readily and the budget has to work. And if I can be really frank, that’s the budget for why this is really complicated.
All episodes of Harlem currently streaming on Prime Video. You can watch our full video of our interview with Tracy Oliver at the top of this article.
https://popculture.com/streaming/news/harlem-tracy-oliver-prime-video-what-inspired-create-show-exclusive/ What Inspired Tracy Oliver To Create The Official Video Show (Exclusive)