Harlem star Jerrie Johnson has opened up about her queer character and the show’s unapologetic LGBTQ+ representation.
Back in 2021, the romantic comedy series was released on Amazon Prime Video to critical acclaim.
Created by Girls Trip writer Tracy Oliver, the show follows four friends –Camille (Meagan Good), Quinn (Grace Byers), Angie (Shoniqua Shandai) and Tye (Jerrie Johnson) – as they balance their various careers and messy love lives in Harlem, New York.
In addition to critics and viewers lauding Harlem for its immersive storylines, LGBTQ+ fans also praised the series for featuring Black queer representation in the form of Tye, a powerful and confident gay tech boss.
In a recent interview with the Advocate, Johnson opened up about the impact her character has had on the queer community and TV sphere.
“When I did film the first season, I didn’t think about all of the different demographics that Tye would be reaching,” she told the news outlet.
“I knew Tye – being a queer black woman who is in control of her life and who is not shying away from who she was, and who was the head of a tech company – I knew how important that was.
“But I think the other stuff was just like, ‘Oh, wow, there’s so many different conversations being had here.”
Towards the end of her interview, Johnson said that seeing a character like Tye during her younger years would have been a “transformative experience.”
“I feel like the Tye characters are either one-dimensional or in the margin, but most of the time, they’re both. And it’s like, that’s not the person we want to see. She’s just there to like move the plot along in this way,” the Good Trouble star explained.
“And so I think that it would have been a transformative escape experience for me in a lot of my other friends had this been a conversation sooner.”
After a year-long wait, the beloved series returned to the aforementioned streamer for its second season on 3 February.
Like its first season, the new batch of episodes are incredibly inclusive. However in addition to Tye’s journey as a Black queer tech boss, Quinn also explores her identity as a bisexual woman.
You can watch the first four episodes of Harlem on Prime Video.