Baltimore — How much would you sacrifice if you knew at the end all of your dreams would come true? This is a grappling decision that Nella Rogers (Sinclair Daniel) must make quickly before it is too late in Hulu’s new series “The Other Black Girl.”
Diligent but overlooked, Nella works as an editorial assistant at Wagner Books in New York City. She has dreams of moving up in the company but for more than two years the climb has been stagnant under her white counterparts. And on top of that, Nella is the only Black woman and even person of color in the office. This dynamic creates a two-fold problem — she has to deal with social issues, racism and office politics by herself while being the voice of diversity.
That is until another Black girl, Hazel-May McCall (Ashleigh Murra) walks into the office and Nella, can’t help but feel like a weight is lifted off of her shoulders. Now she’s not the “only one.” Hazel, an HBCU graduate with long locs and great fashion sense, helps Nella let her hair down, be free and loosen up. After all, the corporate world has Nella falling in the trap of the same routine.
Although off to a rocky start, Nella and Hazel work on their coworker friendship and take it to the next level out the office. They discover they have a love for the same book, “Burning Heart” and share a deep love for the world renowned author, Diana Gordon (Garcelle Beauvais.) The editor of the book, Kendra Rae (Cassi Maddox), was Gordon’s best friend who mysteriously disappeared and just happened to be the first Black editor at Wagner. This discovery gives both the pair a glimpse of hope for their future at the company. This connection is the beginning of the end.
The company has a dark and shady past when it comes to Gordon. However Nella is dedicated to giving the book the recognition it deserves. Suspicious, Nella starts snooping and puts herself in some dangerous situations.
Nella’s best friend Malaika (Brittany Adebumola) knows something is up with Hazel but she can’t quite put her finger on it. She is a ride or die for sure and is willing to do whatever whenever to protect Nella, and Nella is definitely ongoing to need it.
The 10-episode thriller which is based on the New York Times Best Seller “The Other Black Girl” by Zakiya Dalila Harris. The series quickly shows just why it is a thriller with twists and turns that keeps you on the edge of your seat. How much suspense and drama can come from one office?
Nella learns that what she thought was a blessing turned out to be her worst nightmare. And now, in the office she is alone more than ever before. She discovers that there’s a target on her back and they want her to join a cultish group that equips Black women with “skills” to become successful in corporate America. The newly-developed skills are at the expense of their souls and she begins to question everything. And then she finds out who the ring leader is.
I would highly recommend everyone to check out this series especially if you enjoy binge watching. However the ending was a bit of a cliffhanger so I hope we can expect more from the series, this was one of the major differences between the ending of the series versus the novel. Both however leave a lot of room for interpretation and imagination.
A few other differences I enjoyed were the relevant social picks, a deeper breakdown to Hazel’s past and a clear depiction of flashbacks and past events which were a little difficult for me to differentiate in the book. But in the novel we learned a lot more about Nella and her background which I wish was incorporated in the show’s storyline because it helps you understand her character and her views a little bit more. While there are several differences that can be spotted between the book and the sho adaption, which almost always happens, I will say they did a great job of incorporating key components while expanding on new ideas.
I would also recommend the 300-plus page book which can be found at most bookstores or online stores, but I also enjoyed listening to it on Audible.
Ariyana Griffin is a graduate student at Morgan State University in Baltimore. She is a California native and graduate of Clark Atlanta University. Follow her on Twitter: @Ariyanaaganee and Instagram: @ari.yana.g.
Edited by Nykeya Woods