The 'Harlem' Cast Talks Bringing Black Joy to Season 2 and Manifesting a Season 3 Renewal (Exclusive)

How to Watch Harlem Season 2

ET spoke with Meagan Good, Shoniqua Shandai, Jerrie Johnson and Grace Byers about the new season of their Prime Video series.

The women of Harlem are back for season 2 on Prime Video and things are getting complicated. ET's Nischelle Turner recently sat down with series creator Tracy Oliver and stars Meagan Good, Shoniqua Shandai, Jerrie Johnson and Grace Byers to talk about the latest chapter of their comedy series, which debuted Feb 3.

Oliver, who also created BET's First Wives Club and co-wrote the mega-hit Girls Trip, attributed Harlem's success to the star-studded cast and its pivotal fifth main character: New York City.

"They're beautiful, they're magical [and] they actually do love each other," Oliver said of the cast. "They actually hang out and really encourage and support each other, and I think that chemistry offscreen translates onscreen. I [also] really do think it's long overdue to see Black New York... and it shows Harlem in all its glory. I think people are really responding to the uniqueness of the world."

The writer shared that she wants this season to be about "Black joy," particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. "I was looking for something that was fun and escapist and wasn't gonna be depressing 'cause we had enough of that," she explained. "And so Black joy to me just means finding your inner peace and your happiness. This season is kind of a journey to getting there -- they don't start that way but... we kind of end in a place of peace and it means something different for every character."

Byers called fans' response to the series "really rewarding," adding that the cast and crew are lucky to work on a project they enjoy, with people they enjoy.

"I think that all of us can say that this is a show that we can work really hard on but we all deeply love the characters that we play, we love that we get to play together, we love our team, we love our bosses, we love the execs [and] we love our crew," she gushed. "It really is one of those experiences, and so when everything kind of comes together in a kismet kind of way, you're really hoping that everyone is able to consume it in a way that you mean for them to consume it. So when that happens and feel represented, it just feels like this is why we do what we do."

Johnson agreed, adding that "joy is infectious." 

"I feel like people can feel us having a good time doing it, not just reading lines and trying to get something across. We're like playing in full play mode," she added. 

The close bond between the cast made it easy when one of their own pulled double duty. Good took a turn behind the camera this season, serving as both star and director. 

"I've never felt so taken care of before and as an actress, you feel taken care of anyways 'cause she's our number one, she's a phenomenal leader," Shandai shared about Good's time as director. "Being able to be in intimate scenes and have moments where the artist in me might feel uncomfortable, but know completely and utterly that not only she's my sister, but she's been doing this forever. She has such great experience, she's been on set since we were all children."

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For Good, the kinship with her co-stars clearly extends beyond what is seen onscreen. The star reflected on how she was able to lean on her castmates amid her emotionally challenging divorce from DeVon Franklin.

"It was interesting because when I was promoting Harlem season 1 last year is when right when everything was happening, and I really hadn't really told anybody," Good recalled. "To be honest, I was kinda terrified to go into press [junkets] and have somebody ask me something about him, 'cause I didn't want to be disingenuous and I didn't want to pretend like something wasn't going on, but I didn't want to tell my business because everything was still in process."

"So when I told the girls, it was good to be able to just cry and have a moment and be like, 'Guys, I'm not OK. I'm doing the press and I'm gonna smile and that's what’s in my heart, 'cause I'm so happy for us,'" she recalled of sharing the divorce news with her castmates.

According to Good, the other reason she didn't want to bring up the divorce at that time was "because this was our moment, you know?"

"This is our show and this is about Black female empowerment," she explained. "And to change any type of a narrative to anything that has to do with solely one of us was just completely inconsiderate."

For their part, the women who play her best friends onscreen proved to be just as supportive in real life.

"They literally rallied around me," Good said. "We had tons of conversations, each one of us. Tons of prayers, tons of covering, tons of just let [me] cry, and that was just really, really, really amazing. Because I need that."

"When we came back for season 2 was like when my divorce was finalized. That was around the week that I was shooting, and would have been my 10-year anniversary," she shared. "There was a lot going on and I was able to pop in to each dressing room or they popped into my dressing room just to check on me and see how my heart was."

"Because I'm always gonna show up and be professional no matter what is going on," she added. "But it doesn’t mean that I'm not struggling or hurting or that kind of thing."

Johnson reiterated Good's remarks about their growing friendship, sharing, "I just feel like we have, we have all collectively and individually, created these bonds."

"We're constantly exchanging these words of encouragement and having these deep, meaningful moments," Johnson said.

She was particularly effusive of Good's friendship and support, sharing, "Anytime I feel like, on set, that I'm like, 'Oh, I need this.' She's like, 'OK, let me send the email. Let me figure it out.' She's such a momma bear."

As for Harlem, the cast is manifesting their hopes for a season 3. Oliver said she's already thinking about guest stars she'd love to appear in the next installment -- particularly one GRAMMY-winning rapper.

"There’s one person that I heard wants to be on it and, if that's true, Megan Thee Stallion is absolutely gonna be on it," she told ET. "I'm like, done! She’s gorgeous. [She can do] whatever she wants to do! Whatever Miss Stallion would like to do, she can do."

Harlem season 2 is currently streaming on Prime Video, with two episodes premiering every week.