The Other Black Girl’s 10 Biggest Book Changes

The Other Black Girl’s 10 Biggest Book Changes

Spoilers for The Different Black Woman season 1 and the novel forward.


  • The Hulu sequence adaptation of “The Different Black Woman” efficiently balances satire and thriller parts, offering a extra satisfying reveal and finale in comparison with the novel.
  • The TV sequence explores Nella’s backstory and the nuanced moments of her character, though it cuts down on backstory particulars to give attention to the plot and provides extra display time to the character of Hazel.
  • The present displays a post-pandemic world and the heightened consciousness of range, fairness, and inclusion, highlighting the shallow sensibilities of Nella’s white co-workers in a newer context.

Based mostly on Zakiya Dalila Harris’ best-selling novel of the identical identify, The Different Black Woman greater than efficiently interprets the comedy-thriller premise to the display. Like its supply materials, the Hulu sequence facilities on Nella Rogers (Sinclair Daniel), an editorial assistant on the distinguished Wagner Books. The one Black girl working for the writer, Nella navigates office racism alone — till Hazel-Might McCall (Ashleigh Murray) comes on board. Nevertheless, Hazel’s hiring results in some unusual happenings, pushing Nella to unearth Wagner’s distressing historical past. Whereas the overall story beats stay the identical within the TV sequence and the e book, the satirical and thriller-meets-mystery parts are extra in steadiness within the Hulu present.

Furthermore, Harris and pilot co-writer Rashida Jones take full benefit of their medium: with out the page-limit constraints of the novel format at play, sure characters’ roles are made extra pronounced and their backstories are fleshed out. Though each variations of The Different Black Woman inform Harris’ compelling story efficiently, they every play to their very own medium’s strengths and echo the instances during which they had been written. Listed here are the largest variations between the present and the novel, from the start of the sequence toThe Different Black Woman season 1’s ending.

10 Nella’s Backstory Is Dealt with In another way In The Present

Like within the supply materials, protagonist Nella Rogers is an editorial assistant on the acclaimed Wagner Books. A book-smart people-pleaser, Nella can be the one Black worker at Wagner (at first). As within the novel, Nella grew up in a largely white neighborhood in Connecticut and attended a majority white faculty. Even so, the e book — and sequence — heart on Nella’s Blackness and painting her as being deeply enthusiastic about championing Black authors at Wagner.

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Writing from this voice for Nella was so vital to me, however I used to be additionally a bit nervous at first,” Harris instructed USA Right now. The ten-episode TV sequence permits Harris to delve into Nella’s nuance and the layered moments that unfold through the occasions of the present, although viewers do not get as many backstory particulars as readers. Though Nella is a deeply compelling character in each variations of The Different Black Woman, the sequence cuts down on backstory to supply audiences with extra of the plot at hand — and extra (great) display time for Hazel.

9 The Different Black Woman’s Thriller Components Are Threaded Extra Clearly All through

Nella looking shocked in The Other Black Girl

One of many criticisms of Harris’ extensively acclaimed novel was that its thriller and thriller parts got here on a bit too all of the sudden, particularly the place the ending was involved. Whereas the sequence can be a satirical one, it is the propulsive thriller about Wagner — and even Hazel — that retains audiences clicking “subsequent episode.” Notably, the novel and sequence open with a flashback to a second 30 years previous to the occasions of the story. Though this flashback helps body the novel, the sequence extra efficiently threads a thriller-mystery tone all through its 10 episodes, making for a extra satisfying reveal, satire, and finale that’s on par with Jordan Peele’s subsequent film.

8 Hulu’s The Different Black Woman Is Set Publish-Pandemic

Eric McCormick as the head of Wagner in The Other Black Girl

Printed in 2021, The Different Black Woman was written pre-COVID-19 pandemic, and earlier than the opposite moments that formed 2020, together with the murders of George Floyd, Brionna Taylor, and Tony McDade. The Black Lives Matter motion reignited on a fair bigger scale than ever in 2020, turning into the most important social motion in historical past (through The New York Occasions). As such, the conversations surrounding institutionalized racism and implicit bias shifted accordingly. “[To] discover ourselves in 2020 and having these conversations once more, we simply knew that this world and the present must be completely different,” Harris instructed USA Right now, “as a result of there wasn’t simply consciousness from Black and brown individuals.

7 Nella’s Micro-Aggressive Office Modifications With The Occasions

Nella's white Wagner co-workers in The Other Black Girl

On condition that shifting stage of consciousness, Harris and Jones revisited not solely the methods during which Nella navigates the microaggressive, racist office but in addition how supposed “allies” revealed themselves to her. For instance, in a post-2020 world, there could also be a better stage of consciousness in regards to the significance of range, fairness, and inclusion, however these rules have largely been built-in in performative methods — if in any respect.

In 2023, the office — and Nella’s white co-workers — do not grasp the distinction between intent and influence. Hulu’s The Different Black Woman might maintain Nella’s boss Vera (Bellamy Younger) and CEO Richard Wagner (Eric McCormack) much like their on-the-page counterparts, however the TV sequence highlights the shallow sensibilities of a post-2020 world.

6 Nella & Hazel’s First Assembly Is A lot Totally different

Nella and Hazel in the Wagner office in The Other Black Girl

Within the Hulu adaptation, Nella and Hazel’s preliminary assembly is extra targeted on the 2 of them than it’s within the novel. Harris’ supply materials sees Hazel introducing herself to Nella and Vera, Nella’s boss, on the identical time. The present, nevertheless, well cuts Vera from the scene altogether. “She’s effortlessly chill and simply instantly at dwelling [at Wagner], though she simply began,” Harris instructed Elle of the scene. “We don’t see this within the present, however within the e book, Nella’s first day is nothing like Hazel’s.” Even so, the character of their assembly makes it instantly clear that the 2 have opposing experiences.

5 Nella’s Boyfriend Owen Is Made Extra Likable

Nella with her best friend and boyfriend in The Other Black Girl

In each variations of The Different Black Woman, Nella has a white boyfriend, Owen (Hunter Parrish). Very similar to the place she was raised and the school she attended, Nella’s romantic associate is one other hyperlink to the best way she’s been pressured to navigate whiteness in her life. “I did not wish to essentially give attention to [Owen]… I actually did need it to be in regards to the Black girl,” Harris instructed USA Right now. Whereas Owen takes up much less room on display, he is additionally a extra likable model of the character: as a substitute of being outwardly entitled, he is extra supportive of Nella and what she experiences at Wagner.

4 Shani’s Function Modifications From Guide To Display screen

Shani in The Other Black Girl

In Harris’ novel, there is a well-organized group known as The Resistance that options a number of distinguished characters, together with Shani (performed within the sequence by Karina Willis). Within the present, nevertheless, Shani is on the run and extra of an unbiased operator. Since Harris and her co-writers did not have the area to translate The Resistance to the display in the identical means, they used Shani’s mysterious character as a stand-in for the group at giant. It is a extra human, multi-faceted method that higher serves the emotional core of The Different Black Woman‘s central battle.

3 Nella Meets Her Literary Hero In Hulu’s Collection

Kendra Rae Phillips and Diana Gordon in The Other Black Girl

Each variations of The Different Black Woman function key characters from the previous who drew Nella to Wagner within the first place. First, there’s Kendra Rae Phillips (Cassi Maddox), the publishing home’s sole Black editor who hasn’t resurfaced for the reason that ’80s, when she labored with Black author Diana Gordon. Impressed by each Gordon’s e book and Phillips’ profession, Nella finds herself at Wagner due to these two literary icons. Nevertheless, in contrast to within the novel, the TV sequence’ Nella will get to satisfy her heroes — which is not at all times for the very best.

2 The Different Black Woman’s Ending Diverges From The Guide

Hazel looking worried in The Other Black Girl

The TV present’s Hazel is much less of an outright “villain” because of her beneficiant quantity of display time, however, additionally, as a result of the sequence examines her doubtful motivations extra completely. Towards the tip of the 10-episode first season, Nella learns that Hazel is instrumental to a nationwide community that goals to assist Black ladies assimilate into white society — on the expense of their company and sense of self, in fact. “The software that the ladies use is a particular hair grease, which works as a ‘social lubricant’ by numbing their ventromedial prefrontal cortexes,Marie Claire explains.

The hair grease helps the Black ladies who use it match into white-centric skilled “requirements,” affording them Hazel’s stage of calm and ease within the office. Nella additionally discovers that certainly one of her lifelong heroes, creator Diana Gordon, is the one behind the scheme and that she supposed to make use of the grease on her buddy and former Wagner editor Kendra. In The Different Black Woman‘s ending, Nella pretends to make use of the hair grease with the intention to appease Hazel and Diana however nonetheless hopes to disclose the scheme to the world.

1 The Present Retains Issues Open For The Different Black Woman Season 2

Hazel and Nella looking unamused in the Wagner office while holding drinks in The Other Black Girl

The e book provides up a extra harrowing ending: realizing she’s by no means really felt “free,” Nella makes use of the hair grease. In buying and selling her sense of self for the faux-freedom that comes with becoming into the office, Nella offers in to Diana and Hazel’s scheme. Till the very finish, she tries to face in opposition to them and pull the curtain again on what’s taking place, however, finally, turns into unrecognizable within the novel’s epilogue. Apparently, there’s room for The Different Black Woman season 2 to occur.

Maybe in an effort to nab a season 2, Hulu’s The Different Black Woman has Nella fake to make use of the hair grease. This successfully tricked Hazel and Diana. Not solely is that this a extra open-ended, optimistic ending for Nella and her sense of self-preservation, nevertheless it additionally signifies she should still be capable to thwart Diana’s plans if The Different Black Woman season 2 involves cross.

Sources: Numerous

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