How groundbreaking showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser ‘Runs the World’

She’s gone from living single to running the world. 

Yvette Lee Bowser, who made history as the first African-American woman to develop her own primetime series (Fox’s “Living Single,” which ran from 1993-98), said her new half-hour Starz dramedy “Run the World” explores the same themes. 

“I’m obsessed with the joy and the impact of sisterhood,” Bowser, 55, told The Post. 

“For me, this show continues the journey I’ve been on for three decades — which is telling authentic stories from a strong, specifically female and black point of view. That was my incentive for getting involved. I didn’t create this particular show but I did shepherd it onto the air and put thought and love into the development of the series.

“I’ve really tried to infuse strong black female characters into everything I’ve created or been privileged to produce. I want to continue to project that and pass it on.”

Created by Leigh Davenport with Bowser as showrunner/executive producer, “Run the World,” premiering Sunday (May 16) at 8:30 p.m., follows the personal and professional lives of a group of thirty-something black women who are friends in Harlem. 

Ella (Andrea Bordeaux); Renee (Bresha Webb); Sondi Hill (Corbin Reid); and Whitney Greene (Amber Stevens West) in "Run the World"
Ella (Andrea Bordeaux); Renee (Bresha Webb); Whitney (Amber Stevens West); and Sondi Hill (Corbin Reid) in “Run the World”

There’s Ella (Andrea Bordeaux), a writer and a romantic who’s navigating career moves; Sondi (Corbin Reid), a PhD candidate with a complicated love life since she’s dating single father Matthew (Stephen Bishop); Type-A banker Whitney (Amber Stevens West), who’s struggling with anxiety over her upcoming nuptials; and Renee (Bresha Webb), who’s going through a divorce. 

Whitney Greene (Amber Stevens West) and Renee Ross (Bresha Webb) in "Run the World"
Whitney Greene (Amber Stevens West) and Renee Ross (Bresha Webb) in “Run the World”
Cara Howe

“Leigh [Davenport] was inspired very much by ‘Sex and The City.’ Her original take on the show was essentially a black ‘Sex and the City’ and I brought a little bit of ‘Living Single’ magic to the mix,” said Bowser. “Which kind of shifted the tone a little bit — so that it was more about the ensemble and how we lean on each other to thrive together. So it’s a little less of the formula [of ‘Sex and the City’. ]That show is Carrie’s story, and this story is the story of four women and how their sisterhood gets them through.”

Renee (Bresha Webb); Sondi (Corbin Reid) and Whitney Greene (Amber Stevens West) in "Run the World"
Renee (Bresha Webb), Sondi (Corbin Reid) and Whitney Greene (Amber Stevens West) in “Run the World”
Cara Howe

Bowser said that at the beginning of her career, when she was creating “Living Single,” she wasn’t thinking about breaking new ground on a personal level. 

“I do think if I had been aware of being ‘the first’ and if breaking glass ceilings  was my goal, I may not have achieved it,” she said. “It was just in being authentic and telling my truth and having a desire to see something that was an accurate cultural reflection or mirror of us. I was just looking for us to have a platform.

Yvette Lee Bowser
Yvette Lee Bowser
Jonathan Leibson

“I had just stepped out of the very cozy cocoon of the ‘A Different World’ family, which was very black-friendly and female-friendly and into Hollywood, which was not as open and receptive to voices like mine. So I was very eager to create a safe space for us to work in and for us to be heard and create behind the scenes. And to tell our stories in a way that allowed us to see ourselves and know that we matter.

“Because we do.”


New York Post

The New York Post is a daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates NYPost.com, the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com and the entertainment site Decider.com.

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