If you’ve been watching Season 2 of Harlem on Prime Video, it’s been quite the roller coaster ride.

Harlem episodic stills featuring Shoniqua Shandai and Grace Byers

Source: Courtesy / Prime Video

BOSSIP’s Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden spoke with Harlem stars Shoniqua Shandai And Grace Byers ahead of the second season. In the new season, Shoniqua’s character Angie is experiencing some success as an actress, but she faces one of the harshest realities of Hollywood when she lands in the chair of a stylist who doesn’t even attempt to style her mane. Shoniqua opened up about how this onscreen experience mirrored far too many Black actresses’ real-life ones. She spoke to the importance of professional makeup artists and hairstylists being able to work with all skin tones and hair textures.

“That’s definitely an experience I’ve gone through,” Shandai confirmed, “Whether it be the, ‘Oh that looks perfect, you look good,’ or a slight pat and that’s it. It’s another reason why it’s so important to not only have more diversity be on camera but [also] behind the camera and also that dark skin and coily hair be a requirement in training. I was just talking about this with Nimai my makeup artist. It just doesn’t make sense that you are a painter of skin and don’t know how to do all complexions of skin if you are an artist, and it should be the same way with hair. If you are a hair artist you should be able to work with all textures of hair and not just be limited to a hair type that looks like yours.”

For Grace’s character Quinn, big life changes bring about a mental health crisis for her. Grace Byers spoke about how those experiences can often manifest in unexpected ways.

“It’s trying to delve into the parts that people may not see,” Byers told BOSSIP. “I think there are a lot of misconceptions about what it could look like.”

“There’s a scene where it comes out in a different way when she’s with a customer,” Byers added. “I think showing the different colors of what that can look like is really important because there may be some people who might be dealing with it who don’t realize that that is what it is. It’s just not one note when you’re dealing with some of these mental health issues. So I think that’s really important to be able to portray that and show all the different nuances of what that can look like. I feel very fortunate to be able to have that journey for Quinn and to portray that for Quinn this season.”

Lastly, the actresses discussed how at different points in the season, new romantic relationships put a strain on their friendship.

“That’s just honest to what it is to be friends in real life,” Shandai told BOSSIP. “I think people will understand that. You get into a relationship and you don’t hear from your homegirl for a minute. She’s, ‘Oh they’re in the cupcaking phase.’ Once there is like an understanding or just like it regulates, then they’re able to pick up all of their relationships. Then also like maybe, not even that but the abandonment of that but how it affects the other friend. What I love so much is, you have Quinn going through something at that moment where she needs Angie most and she’s not there. Being able to see Quinn dealing with this in her solitude because Angie is preoccupied with something but then always they come back together.”

Season 2 of Harlem is streaming now on Prime Video.


Bossip Comment Policy
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.