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Nicole Ari Parker is happy to see ‘Sex and the City’ revival add Black girlfriends

A woman with curly hair smiles with her hands in her pockets
Actress Nicole Ari Parker is part the “And Just Like That ...” cast.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Nicole Ari Parker thinks it’s about time that the world of “Sex and the City” reflects the real world — and it’s happening with the addition of her character, as well as other people of color who have joined the HBO Max revival “And Just Like That...”

The “Soul Food,” “Empire” and “Chicago P.D.” alum is shaping up to be a major player in the new series, which premiered this week and has already killed off a major character.

The fitness company has what may be an unwelcome cameo in HBO Max’s ‘Sex and the City’ reboot. But a spokeswoman cited the character’s bad habits.

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Her character, Lisa Todd Wexley, is introduced to the New York friend group via Charlotte (Kristin Davis) in the first scene of the show. In fact, she’s even referred to as “Black Charlotte.” She’s a well-heeled documentarian and socially well-connected mother of three whose kid goes to the same music school Charlotte’s daughters attend. She’s also on Vogue’s best-dressed list, naturally.

Parker initially faced a backlash when her casting was announced, with many pushing back on her perceived replacement of the hallowed quartet’s Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), the outrageous, sex-loving publicist who essentially ghosts Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) in the new series’ first episode. But Parker was excited to be part of something iconic that was reinventing itself by adding characters of color, including another Black character (Karen Pittman), a nonbinary Latinx person (Sara Ramirez) and an Indian actress (Sarita Choudhury).

A woman in work clothes
Nicole Ari Parker as Lisa Todd Wexley in “And Just Like That...”
(Craig Blankenhorn / HBO Max)

But when Parker was cast and details of her character leaked, she says she “got the initial backlash of, ‘Oh, no she didn’t!’”

“Black and white fans all over the world lost their minds as if I had replaced the Samantha character,” Parker recently told Essence. “First of all, my Baltimore got activated and I was like, ‘Sis, got a job!’ Let’s start there. B.) Kim Cattrall is irreplaceable. And C.) this is an opportunity to make ‘Sex and the City’ look like the city.”

She added that she was “doubly relieved” when she saw the script and appreciated that the writers “tried to make sure that these [characters] were well-rounded people.”

“Listen, they are not going to magically resolve the massive conflict that we are continuing to struggle with in this country; but without giving away too much, they did try to have those issues trickle down into conversations between two women that might become friends,” she told the mag. “How does the absence of Black people in your life manifest when you’re invited to a dinner party, have a cup of coffee or pick up your kids from the same school?

“That’s where the show is dealing with the elephant in the room of real life circumstances triggering real life circumstances but in a half-hour iconic comedy format,” she said.

During the show’s original run from 1998 to 2004, Parker felt sorry that the New Yorkers’ “lives were in a bubble” and that they didn’t really know “how the rest of the world works.” She thought that the women, whose colorful sex lives were the topic at their many no-holds-barred brunches, could have benefited from having a Black girlfriend.

“Now, I think they figured it out for this first-time approach and still stay on brand and be the show that everyone knows and loves,” she said.

A group of dressed-up people poses on a red carpet.
Cast members Chris Jackson, left, Nicole Ari Parker, LeRoy McClain, Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sara Ramirez, Karen Pittman, Cynthia Nixon, Alexa Swinton and Sarita Choudhury at the New York premiere of HBO Max’s “And Just Like That...”
(Evan Agostini / Invision/Associated Press)

In a separate interview with fashion trade Women’s Wear Daily, Parker also lauded the cast members, who have gotten a lot of flack for their maturing looks.

“This is history. This is magical,” she said. “We shouldn’t discuss one single thing about looks other than, ‘Damn, they look good.’”


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