Why ‘Run the World’ Starz embraces ‘Sex and the City’ likeness

There’s a scene in “Run the World” — Starz’s comedy series about the personal and experienced lives of 4 gals in New York — in which Ella, a writer, is baffled right after operating into her ex-boyfriend. Although they’ve been broken up for years, she feels drawn to him mainly because, properly, “He’s my Big.”

A buddy disputes this comparison to “Sex and the City” narrator Carrie Bradshaw’s on-once again, off-once again paramour, played by Chris Noth. “Big was tall, rich and had a driver. If you’re going to perpetually humiliate your self for a male, he far better be tall, rich and have a driver. There’s a quite apparent, properly-founded pop lifestyle street map for this!”

These strains get in front of “Run the World’s” just about unavoidable comparisons to the legendary HBO series, which has been admired for its trailblazing aim on woman sexuality at the exact time that it is been criticized for showcasing just 1 Black woman character in its six-year operate. The relationship even runs to the fashions, normally at the heart of “Sex and the City’s” appeal: The formidable, achieved quartet of Black gals in “Run the World” are impeccably dressed by costume designer Tracy L. Cox and specialist Patricia Discipline, equally of whom labored on “Sex and the City”).

“At 1st I was like, that is troublesome, mainly because this demonstrate is its own detail,” said series creator Leigh Davenport. “But I have truly arrive to embrace it. I signify, ‘Sex and the City’ became a international phenomenon. If you see us as the Black ‘Sex and the Town,’ — like, indeed, this is how wonderful and dynamic and messy and complicated and exceptionally complete we are — then give us the ‘Sex and the City’ cure: six seasons and two movies!”

Showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser, remaining, Amber Stevens West, Bresha Webb, creator Leigh Davenport, Corbin Reid and Andrea Bordeaux, pictured in Harlem, in which the series is established.

(Cara Howe / Starz)

But to think about “Run the World” merely a retread of “Sex and the City” with Black gals would be offering it small. For 1, the Starz series presents its key foursome equivalent billing: Amber Stevens West as an investment decision banker who is arranging her wedding ceremony Renee Ross as an ad executive who is considering divorce Corbin Reid as an educational who is hiding her partnership and Andrea Bordeaux as the aforementioned writer who is mending a broken heart. And none of them are as thoughtless as Bradshaw usually was.

“To have a actual buddy, you have to be a actual buddy, ideal?” said showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser. “In each and every episode, they obtain their way by way of dilemmas by truly supporting each and every other. They really do not be reluctant to get to out to each and every other, and they really do not wait for you to collapse to catch you.

“We needed to depict actions that we have professional and that we’d like to see far more of in the earth,” she continued. “If any one looking at doesn’t have friendships like these, I hope that the demonstrate is an encouragement to seek them out, mainly because they are important.”

As opposed to Carrie and her profits from sporadic newspaper columns, Ella — a fictionalized model of Davenport, the former editorial director of HelloBeautiful.com — has endured a occupation setback and is now hustling the superstar gossip conquer in the electronic age. “It’s a minor lowbrow compared to what she pictured herself doing,” said Bordeaux, who plays Ella. “She’s in that relatable circumstance in which all of her programs have crashed and burned, so she’s letting go of the existence she considered she’d have.”

A woman in a blue fur stole sits at a desk in front of a gallery wall.

“Living Single” star Erika Alexander plays Ella’s blunt editor.

(Cara Howe / Starz)

But Ella enjoys a important gain around Carrie: Her jaded editor, played by “Living Single” legend Erika Alexander, is deliciously blunt and generous with knowledge. “It’s fun to produce a character who appears at the encounters of the key characters as if they’re in her rearview mirror,” said Bowser, who herself has grow to be a mentor to Davenport. “She’s the 1 who’s normally telling Ella to quit obtaining in her own way, which men and women usually do and really do not know.”

And nevertheless “Sex and the City” depicted various Manhattan neighborhoods, it steered apparent of Harlem, in which all 8 episodes of “Run the World” are established. “Harlem is usually the location of criminal offense-centric movies and historic stories when, truly, it is this vivid, lovely, quite linked local community of predominantly Black men and women, possessing fun and dwelling existence,” said Davenport.

Capturing these lively tableaux although keeping COVID-safe and sound last fall was a challenge that, Bowser hopes, pays off past the fictional storylines. “We’re depicting these gals free and out in the earth just as we’re all coming out of this time of great upheaval and uncertainty,” she said of the pandemic.

“I hope this demonstrate acts like an elixir for isolation: It evokes men and women to get out and get back to not just what feels normal, but also what is most fulfilling for their lives.”