A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
While there's plenty of discussion about community pride and assistance, a lot of the show's focus is on the castmates' personal relationships, and lots of gossipy and competitive behavior is captured. The cast is African American; prominent African-American community leaders and business owners are featured and/or discussed.
Violence & Scariness
Arguing between castmates. Some references to street violence. Jason wants to start a nonprofit for children of incarcerated parents.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some relatively mild sexual innuendo, including references to people looking "hot" and "sexy." One scene shows a man placing his hand on a woman's thigh while sitting at a bar. Occasionally the castmates are seen in their underwear, but there's no outright nudity.
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Audible language includes words like "hell" and "damn." Occasional stronger choices like "s--t" are bleeped.
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Products & Purchases
Businesses like Victoria's Secret Pink are mentioned, and various Harlem restaurants and business are visible. The series also serves as a promotional vehicle for Christian's magazine, DIME.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
No one is falling down drunk, and they're all of age -- but there's lots of drinking. The cast regularly discusses things over wine and cocktails and are frequently shown drinking in bars and nightclubs. Ashlie is a bartender. Jason is shown smoking cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while this reality series about a diverse group of twentysomething professionals living in Harlem includes some positive messages around community pride and service, like most reality shows, it skews more toward voyeuristic moments filled with gossiping, flirting, arguing, and drinking (lots of drinking). Expect occasional strong language ("s--t") and some screen time for well-known companies like Victoria's Secret and Dime magazine, as well as local Harlem businesses.
Is It Any Good?
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
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