“Living Single” may have originally aired over 25 years ago, but the sitcom which celebrated and elevated Black success in all aspects left an indelible mark on the hearts of many. The program was created by Yvette Lee Bowser and starred Queen Latifah, Kim Coles, Erika Alexander, T.C. Carson, John Henton, Kim Fields and Mel Jackson in later episodes. The groundbreaking Fox sitcom aired from 1993 to 1998 and was the story six young Black independent professionals living in one Brownstone apartment in Brooklyn, New York. A famed show with a similar plot, known as “Friends,” aired the following year. However, “Friends” star, David Schwimmer who played the role of Ross, recently caught flak on Twitter for suggesting that the sitcom he starred on should have an “all-black” reboot, when its’ predecessor was, in fact, an all-Black show.
Schwimmer recently spoke with The Guardian on the lack of diversity on “Friends,” admitting that he could have put forth more effort in getting actors and actresses of color on the show. “Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends,” he said.
The actor continued, “But I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of color. One of the first girlfriends I had on the show was an Asian American woman, and later I dated African American women. That was a very conscious push on my part.”
In all actuality, “Friends” was an “all-white” reboot of “Living Single.”
In fact, Erika Alexander caught wind of Schwimmer’s interview and called him out. “Hey @DavidSchwimmer @FriendsTV – r u seriously telling me you’ve never heard of #LivingSingle? We invented the template! Yr welcome bro. ;)” she tweeted.
Queen Latifah spoke to the rumors of “Living Single” inspiring Friends during an appearance on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” in 2016. When asked by Corden if “Living Single” was the “jumping off point” for another huge sitcom on NBC, Latifah replied, “Yes, yes. ‘Friends.'”
“It was interesting because when Living Single came out, shortly thereafter, Warren Littlefield who was president of NBC – they asked him if he could have any show on television, any of the new shows, which one would it be? And he said, ‘Living Single.’ It was in the newspaper and then next thing you know, here comes ‘Friends.’”
Sounds like some good ‘ol Christopher Columbus’ing.
Henton also spoke of Friends’ concept being ironically similar to Living Single’s. “We did our first season and then ‘Friends’ came the following season. So, we were on Sunday night at first because it was after ‘In Living Color’ and ‘Martin’ and stuff,” he said during an interview with Comedy Hype.
Henton said Fox moved their time slot to have them competing against their “carbon copy.” “I was mad,” he said. “It was us, it was our idea. You’re mad because you’re not getting any credit for it and nowadays, people talk about what a great show that was and it was like, but it was based on ours. We don’t get that type of credit.”
Well, social media is certainly giving “Living Single” its’ flowers because they clapped back at Schwimmer’s comment, almost instantaneously.
One person tweeted, “Does he know he was in the all white reboot of Living Single?”
Another person said, “But Friends is the store brand version of Living Single.”
Check out more reactions below.