‘Run the World’ offers a much-needed lighthearted, layered depiction of Black women

Reckon caught up with the leading ladies of the STARZ show to discuss season two

Do Black women’s lives on screen have to be defined by myopic tropes of struggle and dealing with trash men? Of course not. And that’s what the STARZ original series Run the World strives to do in its second season.

After two years, Run the World, is back with a sleeker format and tighter storytelling for its characters using the half-hour comedy format to depict lighthearted layered depictions of Black womanhood. The series follows a now trio, 30-something friend group (actress Andrea Bordeaux, who played Ella, left the series following season one) balancing career, love, and the ups and downs of adulthood in New York City. Season two has a through-line theme of figuring it out as Renee (Bresha Webb), Whitney (Amber Stevens West), and Sondi (Corbin Reid) take on the world, oftentimes falling on their face but picking each other up every time.

The series picks right up after where viewers last saw the ladies as they return from a girls’ trip and must grapple with heartache and career moves.

Season two is ripe with potential for success amongst audiences with new adjustments to its production. Rachelle Williams-BenAry (“Love Life,” “Mixed-ish,” “Survivor’s Remorse”) joined season two as showrunner and executive producer, while Yvette Lee Bowser and Leigh Davenport serve as executive producers. Under their direction, Run the World has found its path as an ensemble half-hour comedy filled with heart, friendship, laughs, and a cast of who’s who in Black Hollywood. It’s a subtle kind of comedy, not too in your face but a chuckle that sneaks out in between heartfelt tears. Season two is best described as the best parts of classics like Waiting to Exhale and Living Single, showing a lighthearted layered depiction of being a Black woman on a mission to dominate the world.

Run the World also expands its series regulars in the second season with Stephen Bishop (Moneyball) and Tosin Morohunfola (“Black Lightning”) returning in their respective roles as Matthew and Ola. Erika Alexander (“Living Single”) and Nick Sagar (“Queen of the South”) will also be returning as recurring guest stars, and Jay Walker (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and Tonya Pinkins (Enchanted) will return as guest stars.

Reckon spoke with the Run the World leading ladies about the upcoming season and what fans can expect from their characters.

After that season one cliffhanger and coming clean about cheating on Ola, what can viewers expect for Whitney this season?

Amber Stevens West: You [will] see her struggle with the consequences of the decision to tell [Ola] because it won’t be wrapped up [how] she wants it to be. She wants it to all go away and then get back on the path she was on and continue the way things were. And that’s not going to happen. He’s not going to let her win and have it her way.

You’re going to watch her figure out if this [relationship] is something that she wants to fight for; if it truly is, he’s the love of her life, and that was just one mistake to prove to herself that she loved him more than anything. Or if she blew that up because there was something else unfulfilled inside her that she needs to address.

And Bresha, Renee is starting over in her career and love life after season one. How does she juggle and navigate these life changes?

Bresha Webb: She doesn’t do a good job at first; she’s trying to figure it out. She’s never started her own firm, and she’s relied mainly [on] — and her whole claim to fame is doing it right — being the top at her career and her relationship, being that model. Now she’s embarking on a new journey, not being married, and starting her new firm and just finding her footing in this new space, being a little insecure about it, making some mistakes, being a little too aggressive. She has to learn and pace herself and find grace as well. And I think that’s also aspirational.

When I was playing the character, I saw how many times she had to take a deep breath and give herself grace while learning those big lessons and putting herself in these difficult situations. But she had to walk it out and figure it out, and she had her girlfriends to lean on in the meantime while she made those big choices.

And Corbin, Sondi is juggling a lot this season, still pursuing her academic dreams. How is she prioritizing herself and her dreams and desires this season?

Corbin Reid: [You’ll] see Sondi make pivotal changes in her career, probably things that you wouldn’t assume she would do, but she does and isn’t just by nature of her academic background. It lends itself nicely to what she chooses to do. And see her make [bold] decisions within the context of her personal life [and] her relationship that serve her.

As beautiful as it is to watch her be this caretaker and instill all her knowledge into [Amari], she is still a young woman, and it’s not her kid. She has to [decide] where she stand[s]. The questions she [asked] herself in season one are accelerated by the return of Amari’s real mom. So you see her make a lot of changes and confront things that people may have been asking, watching, going, “Well, why is she putting up with that?” [You’ll] see that she decides to take a different path.

What are your hopes for viewers after viewing season two?

Bresha Webb: My hope for the viewers after watching season two is that they’re lit with so much inspiration, whether it’s from the fashion, our career paths, and how we are making these bold choices [in] our new journeys, that they feel inspired to go out there and take chances and make sure that they connect with their friends and also know that they can do it all. So I think just inspiration is the number one thing for me.

Amber Stevens West: I hope people fall more in love with these characters and their friendship. The baseline of the show is the friendship these girls have with each other, so you’re going to want to come every week to watch them play together, fall together, laugh together, and lift each other up.

Corbin Reid: I would say it’s never too late to figure out what you want. I think there are a lot of shows that explore women navigating their twenties or even their college years or high school and sort of glamorize and idolize those times in your life, and you’re figuring it out, and you’re becoming an adult.

But when you’re in your thirties, it is still completely acceptable to say, “I’m going to pivot all the way to the left or to the right.” Whether that’s in a friendship, career, [or] relationship, you do not have to have it all figured out, and whenever you figure it out, it’s okay to figure it out. So hopefully, that’s something to take away.

The eight-episode second season of the half-hour comedy series will premiere today, Friday, May 26, at midnight (ET), releasing episodes weekly on the STARZ app, all STARZ streaming and on-demand platforms. On linear, it will debut on STARZ at 9:30 PM ET/PT in the U.S. and Canada.

The Reckon Report.
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