The TV adaptation of Zakiya Dalila Harris’ New York Times best-selling novel, The Other Black Girl, is here. And the author is opening up about bringing the book to life through the Hulu series.
The horror series follows Nella Rogers (Sinclair Daniel), a Black book publishing editorial assistant who is gunning for a promotion in her all-white company, the fictional Wagner Books. Being the only Black person in a work setting is, unfortunately, a very relatable experience. But the show takes it to a sinister level when Hazel-May McCall (Riverdale’s Ashleigh Murray) arrives.
Hazel-May, at first, seems like Nella’s saving grace. Another young Black woman in the office? What could go wrong? But, in reality, Nella begins to sense that something is very wrong, and it’s not just the racist microaggressions she’s become accustomed to putting up with at work.
“We really wanted for it to be unclear what is the actual scary part,” Harris told The New York Times in an interview. “Obviously, there’s the twist that’s happening, but also, it’s being gaslit in your office!” Harris continued that she wanted to start off the show in a “very everyday kind of place, but then slowly, it becomes more and more clear that there’s something off.”
Harris added that the show took a creative approach to exploring Nella’s story and how she engages with those in her world.
“It was really fun, in a way that sounds twisted, to really undercut everything Nella expected, and really challenge this expectation of, ‘Black people feel the way that I feel,’” Harris told People. “Because that’s what [Nella is] also annoyed about with her White coworkers…they expect her to have a certain take.”
Hazel-May is definitely not who Nella expects. And she will force her to make a decision on exactly what kind of Black girl do I want to be?
The Other Black Girl premiered on Hulu on September 13 and has been sparking some serious conversations among viewers.
The 10-episode series’ team includes co-writer Rashida Jones and first-time showrunners Gus Hickey and Jordan Reddout. And Harris served as executive producer on the series.
Photo by Wilford Harwood / Hulu