At the center of Tracy Oliver’s (“Girls’ Trip”) hit 10 episode comedy series “Harlem” (on Amazon Prime) is love, pure and simple. The gifted scribe created relatable characters, all searching for the person that makes their hearts sing. The comedy focuses on Camille (Meagan Good) and her “unbreakable sisterhood” which includes the romantic Quinn (Grace Byers), the masculine-presenting lesbian and up-and-coming tech maven Tye (Jerrie Johnson), and the outspoken, gifted singer, Angie (Shoniqua Shandai).
And much like Starz’s “Run the World” (also set in Harlem), and Issa Rae’s masterful work, “Insecure,” it’s men, in three of the women’s lives, who play a significant role.
One of the leading men is played by Robert Ri’chard (“One on One”) who plays Shawn, a young, single father who is an exotic dancer and is pursuing a relationship with Quinn (Grace Byers), a corporate fashion boutique owner and budding designer.
Robert Ri’chard starred in the Nickelodeon sitcom “Cousin Skeeter,” and has appeared, as himself, on the hit Nickelodeon game show, “Figure It Out.” He played Samuel on “Touched by an Angel,” a troubled teen whose brother is in prison for shooting a man. He has also appeared in films such as “Coach Carter” and “House of Wax.” His breakout role was in the TV adaptation of Anne Rice’s novel, “The Feast of All Saints,” where he played the young Marcel who becomes a man within society. He has been professionally acting since the age of 13.
We caught up with Robert Ri’chard to discuss his role in the hit show “Harlem.”
Amsterdam News: What a wonderful surprise. I love how Sean wears his heart on his sleeve.
Robert Ri’chard: (laughing) Thank you. Yes, the way all of the men are represented, in “Harlem,” they do have their hearts on their sleeve and their emotions are out there.
AmNews: Robert, tell me about your character.
RR: Well, my character is a man, and this is America. And in America, you have to get to work and take care of your family. My character has a son and he has to look after his son. And by any means necessary. Just like every hard-working American, I will do anything for my kid.
AmNews: Tru’ dat.
RR: And second of all, my character is the kind of guy that every girl deserves as a date. Because he is not afraid to fall in love. He’s already fallen in love with Quinn, and you can see that from the moment that they met and the way that he looks at her. If you go back and watch the show, he is enthralled with being like, ‘I love you. I’m going to take care of you. And I understand we might come from different sides of the track, but that doesn’t matter when someone cares about another person.’
AmNews: Great point. It’s a lot to unpack.
RR: He’s letting Quinn stay with his son. That’s a pretty big step in any relationship, it’s a trust factor. I know everybody is home right now if you have kids, there’s that moment where it becomes actually, ‘Okay, we’re that close? Then, I’ll let you look after my seed.’ And he’s got that going for him. And I love Shawn’s character for that. And we’re going to see more from Shawn. He puts her on the spot. He’ll talk to her face to face and say, ‘Listen, don’t try and discredit who I am as a person and our relationship because you have friends who are white-collar.’
AmNews: What do you think his superpowers are?
RR: Shawn’s super exciting. I mean, he’s a guy that every girl wants to fall in love with, right? I mean, number one, he’s fun, and he can dance. And he’s fallen in love before too, you know, two feet in [and gotten heartbroken]. He’s fearless. He’s not afraid to fall in love and show his hand, which is sharing that he has a kid. And he wants her to meet his kid. Yeah, that’s pretty brave.