Parents' Guide to

Harlem Heights

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Reality series falls into voyeurism trap. Lots of drinking.

TV BET Reality TV 2009
Harlem Heights Poster Image

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Harlem Heights offers a glimpse into the lives of young African Americans who are both contributing to and enjoying the rebirth of a Manhattan neighborhood that has played a major role in African-American history. The show captures the fact that historic Harlem is becoming increasingly gentrified -- and, as a result, is once again a robust epicenter of African-American culture, power, and glamour. Adding to this prestige is the fact that many of the show's cast members are connected to influential African-American figures, including Harlem community leader Larry Dais, advertising mogul Don Coleman. and singer Kanye West.

But like many other reality shows, Harlem Heights tends to focus less on high culture and more on the ups and downs of the relationships among its good-looking, spirited cast. Scenes in which the men and women gossip, argue, and drink often seem endless. And while some of the castmates are inspired to help their community, most seem more focused on having fun, making money, and looking fabulous. As a result, much of the inspiration that comes from being part of the new Black Renaissance is undermined by voyeuristic moments that highlight some pretty narcissistic behavior.

TV Details

  • Premiere date: March 2, 2009
  • Network: BET
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Last updated: October 13, 2022

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