At first, “Run the World” looks a lot like “Sex and the City” — four women in New York, living and loving and laughing.
But the women of the Starz comedy, which premiered Sunday, call Harlem home and embrace the Black sisterhood they found at Spellman College.
“‘Sex and the City’ tapped into something really genius, but as the consciousness shifts and evolves, obviously the program is going to shift and evolve. We’re telling the same story but we’re doing it in a more evolved way,” Andrea Bordeaux, who plays journalist Ella, told the Daily News.
“‘Sex and the City’ was about four women and the lives and their relationships, but the focal point of their lives was often about finding a man and being incomplete without having that male counterpart or that relationship. What we’re focusing on is that individual aspect of what it is that we’re creating for ourselves as women and showcasing the men as complements to our lives, not the main component of it.”
That’s not to say that “Run the World” is without its share of boy drama. Ella rekindles a romance with an ex. Whitney is planning her wedding. Sondi carries on an illicit affair. And Renee finds herself back out on the market amid a divorce.
But the show — and its women — know there’s more to life than men. They have careers, family and, most importantly, each other. The four friends fight and disagree, but at the end of the day, they always come back to each other, because that’s what real friends do.
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“I can fight with my best friend but she’s still going to be my best friend because there’s so much love underneath there,” Amber Stevens West, who plays Whitney, told The News.
“We are going to call each other out because we expect each other to be excellent at all times. If you are making a huge mistake, I’ll call you out for being shady, but it’s only because I love you and I want you to be better. And I’ll accept that criticism from my friend too.”
Like “Sex and the City” called Manhattan home, “Run the World” plants its roots in Harlem, at Marcus Garvey Park and the Red Rooster and Yatenga. “A love letter to Harlem,” Bresha Webb, who plays Renee, called the show.
“Harlem...has a completely different heartbeat,” Corbin Reid, who plays Sondi, told The News. “Having lived in New York, each borough has its own personality and its own lifeline. Harlem has a very different identity than Manhattan...it was cool to just let her shine.”
And much like “Sex and the City,” “Run the World” exists specifically in its era, hitting the language and references of exactly this moment in history. That may not age well, but as a time capsule, it understands its place.
Showrunner Leigh Davenport pulled parts of her own experiences to make the show, focusing on the intersection of personal and professional for Black women in the 21st century.
“I’m excited for everyone to see real life Black women living real life and having soft problems,” Webb told The News. “It’s not so deep and dark. It’s fun and joyous. It’s Black girl magic.”©2021 New York Daily News. Visit at nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.