Harlem: 7 Quick Things We Know About Tracy Oliver’s Upcoming Prime Video Comedy Series

Meagan Good, Grace Byers, Shoniqua Shandai, and Jerrie Johnson on Harlem
(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

In the past few years, there have been few names that have had as much success, both financially and creatively, as Tracy Oliver. With record-breaking comedies like Girls Trip, acclaimed TV comedies like First Wives Club, and multiple other projects, Oliver has cemented her legacy as one of the freshest and most prominent voices in show business. And, if Oliver’s latest show, the upcoming Prime Video comedy Harlem, is any indication, the talented writer and producer is not only here to stay, she’s getting bigger and brighter by the day.

If this is the first you’re hearing about Harlem, which has a cast that features Meagan Good, Whoopi Goldberg, and other talented actors, worry not, because we’re about to break down everything you need to know about the upcoming Amazon series about friendship and professional success in New York City.

Meagan Good, Grace Byers, Shoniqua Shandai, and Jerrie Johnson on Harlem

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Harlem Premieres December 3 On Prime Video

There isn’t all that much time to wait for Harlem, as the show’s first season will premiere Friday, December 3, on Prime Video. If you’re looking for a great addition to the list of best shows on Amazon to binge over the course of a single weekend, Harlem and its story about four best friends making a place for themselves (and their friendship) in the “city that never sleeps,” should mean looking no further.

Meagan Good on Minority Report; Grace Byers on Empire; Shoniqua Shandai on The Guest Book; Jerrie Johnson on Good Trouble

(Image credit: Fox; Fox; TBS; Freeform)

The Harlem Cast Includes Meagan Good, Grace Byers, Shoniqua Shandai And Jerrie Johnson

The Harlem cast is one of the most impressive to be featured on an Amazon original series in the past few years, from its main stars all the way down to its supporting characters, some of whom come with one hell of a resumé. On the upcoming series, Megan Good (Minority Report) will take on the role of Camille, an anthropology professor at Columbia University; Grace Byers (Empire) plays Quinn, a talented and creative fashion designer; Shoniqua Shandai (I am the Night) portrays Angie, an aspiring singer; and Jerrie Johnson (Mother’s Milk) steps in as Tye, a successful app developer who has a history of dating women who aren’t always on the same level.

The Harlem cast also includes Tyler LePley, Jasmine Guy, Whoopi Goldberg, Andrea Martin, Robert Ri’chard, Juani Feliz, Kate Rockwell, and Sullivan Jones.

Tiffany Haddish, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, and Jada Pinkett Smith in Girls Trip

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Harlem Centers On Four Best Friends Balancing Love And Their Respective Professions In New York City

The new Prime Video half-hour comedy series will follow four college friends who met at New York University and remain close as their respective careers take off in Harlem. The show will center on each of the four ambitious girlfriends as they find a way to balance friendship, love, aspirations, and their own career paths while also navigating everyday life in one of the cultural centers of the Big Apple.

The New Prime Video Series Was Created, Written And Executive Produced By Girls Trip Creator Tracy Oliver

Tiffany Haddish, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, and Jada Pinkett Smith in Girls Trip

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Harlem was created, written, and executive produced by Tracy Oliver, who is coming off a string of successful movies and TV shows that includes Barbershop: The Next Cut, Girls Trip, First Wives Club, Little, and The Sun Is Also a Star, to name just a few. The co-production from Amazon Studios, Universal Television, and Paper Kite Productions, also has some major players working behind the scenes as well. The list of executive producers also includes Amy Poehler, Kim Lessing, Dave Becky, Pharrell Williams, and Mimi Valdés, with Girls Trip director Malcolm D. Lee directing the first two of the show’s 10 episodes.

Michelle Buteau, Jill Scott, and Ryan Michelle Bathe on First Wives Club

(Image credit: BET+)

Tracy Oliver Came Up With The Idea Of Harlem After Noticing A Lack Of Black Girlfriend Shows On TV

Even though Harlem is just now getting ready to make its debut on Prime Video, the idea behind the comedy series is something that Tracy Oliver has been contemplating for a number of years. In fact, she first came up with the idea of making a show about Black girlfriends before Girls Trip even came out. When chatting with EW in October 2021, Oliver revealed that the idea came from her love of shows about best friends but noticed that there weren’t many that focused on Black female friendship, stating:

There just wasn’t a lot of like Black female friendship stories on the air, and those have always been my favorites. I’ve loved Girlfriends, and Sex and the City, and even Living Single, though that was more co-ed. Usually what I do when there’s something missing that I really want to see is I just decide, okay, we’ll I’ll just write it. So I did.

Tracy Oliver also revealed that she wanted to make a show that tore down the notion that you’re supposed to have your life all mapped out and figured out by the time you are in your 30s, and she wanted to be truthful about the struggle she faces herself.

Ryan Michelle Bathe and Jill Scott on First Wives Club

(Image credit: BET+)

Harlem Got Underway Just As The COVID-19 Pandemic Started In Early 2020

Although Harlem won’t make its streaming debut until December 2021, Tracy Oliver, the cast, crew, and writing staff have all been hard at work on the series for more than two years. Back in July 2019, Deadline reported that Amazon had ordered the then-untitled comedy series, at which point Oliver described the show as a “dream project.” 

The comedy series picked up steam in January 2020, when Amazon announced the cast list and other key details. At that point, it looked like it would be smooth sailing from there on out, but then the COVID-19 pandemic happened and ravaged New York City, where the show is set and filmed. Oliver addressed this is on Twitter in October 2021 in a post in which she said she was “unbelievably grateful” for everything the cast and crew had accomplished throughout the process.

Issa Rae and Marsai Martin in Little

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

On Top Of Harlem, Tracy Oliver Signed An Eight-Figure Deal With Apple In March 2021

The upcoming release of Harlem will cap off what has been a memorable year for Tracy Oliver, who signed a massive multi-year deal with Apple this past spring. In March 2021, Deadline reported that Oliver and Apple agreed on a deal that was reportedly somewhere in the “significant” eight-figure range, though the exact amount was not disclosed. This multi-year partnership will see TV series and movies from Tracy Oliver and her Tracy Yvonne Productions company find a home on the Apple TV+ platform, a streaming service that has been making waves the past couple of years with a number of high-profile deals, and Emmy Award-winning shows like Ted Lasso.

All we are waiting on now is the eventual Harlem trailer, which should be dropping at some point before the show premieres, Friday, December 3, on Prime Video. If you want to know what else is coming out in the final months of the year, check out CinemaBlend’s 2021 fall TV schedule.

Philip Sledge
Content Producer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.