‘Living Single’ 25: In a 2010s Kinda World, Where are Khadijah and Her Girls?
There was no dearth of black sitcoms in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. The era was blessed us with a range of vehicles showcasing the black family and experience: The Jeffersons, 227, Amen, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire, Family Matters, and of course the gold standards in black television for many, Cosby and A Different World. But again, these shows were about the black family, or the young adult(s) leaving the nest for the first time and finding their way. Then, in the early ‘90s, former A Different World producer Yvette Lee Bowser had the idea to create a sitcom based on her experiences in her 20s; a show centered around black women. From 1993 to 1998, Living Single kept black viewers invested in the lives of Khadijah James (Queen Latifah), Regine Hunter (Kim Fields), Synclaire James (Kim Coles), Maxine Shaw (Erika Alexander), Overton Wakefield Jones (John Henton), and Kyle Barker (T.C. Carson): a group of upwardly-mobile black friends in their 20s making their way in a pre-gentrified Brooklyn row house.
Living Single and Martin were the first time Gen X were seeing themselves and their friends on TV in adult situations. First as part of FOX’s In Living Color-anchored Sunday night line up, then moved to the network’s black response to “Must-See TV” on Thursday with Martin and New York Undercover, Living Single was Top 5 among black audiences for the duration of its run, and the highest rated show among the demo from ’96-’97.
It inspired a new format for ensemble comedy, spawning NBC’s Friends, which premiered the following year, and later Girlfriends and arguably Sex in the City.
Living Single wasn’t just a comedy vehicle like Martin but took us through the group’s struggles finding their professional footing, navigating their love lives, and even managing their parents and families as (newly) grown ass people. We knew they’d be good in the end though because they had each other to help them face the challenges of a ‘90s kinda world… But then what happened?
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Living Single, The Boombox has taken the liberty of imaging where Khadijah and crew are today.
WHERE WE LEFT HER: Leaving NY (plus plates and food on the table!) to follow her heart, and her man Scooter (Cress Williams), to Rio.
WHERE SHE IS TODAY: Khadijah and Scooter came back from Rio and realized they still needed to figure out how to make a bi-coastal relationship work, and they did it for a while, with Khadijah using time on the West Coast to help expand Flava and Scooter spending as much time in NY as possible. Alas, eventually they decided they were better as friends and business partners. They didn’t get married, but they have one son; Terrence Jr. (TJ). TJ starts school at Khadija’s alma mater, Howard, in the fall.
Flava didn’t survive the dot.com boom, but Khadijah’s still a successful media maven; she and Scooter co-own a digital media company with several entertainment blogs under its umbrella, and they run an indie music festival as part of Scooter’s talent management company (a joint venture with Live Nation).
Khadijah is still based in Brooklyn, in a beautifully restored brownstone filled with an ever-growing collection of black and African art.
Scooter is based in L.A. but comes back and forth to N.Y. often for their joint business interests, which also includes a minority stake in the Brooklyn Nets. Unbeknownst to them, the rest of the crew — including TJ — have a bet on how long it will take for them to get back together.
SYNCLAIRE & OVERTON
WHERE WE LEFT THEM: After an improv run, Synclaire was offered an audition for a new series, and she and Overton announced they were moving to Hollywood.
WHERE THEY ARE NOW: Synclaire did a couple of pilots that unfortunately weren’t picked up. She and Obie grew weary of the L.A. scene in time, and moved back East, settling in New Jersey to start popping out little Joneses. Synclaire still pursued local acting roles but also started a children’s theater workshop as a passion project. As Overton’s parents got older, the couple decided to move to his hometown of Cleveland. Shortly after, they won an HGTV home remodeling contest and were offered a show based around them flipping houses. The show took off due to Synclaire’s zany hijinks and antics plus Overton’s colorful phrasing and expressions. The housing crash brought that to an end, but couple's fan following eventually led to a current unscripted show on TV One with their brood of 5 stair-step children. Keeping Up With the Joneses is going into its sixth season, and the family can often be found at Circle of Sisters events and doing meet and greets at Essence Festival.
WHERE WE LEFT HER: Newly engaged to and moved in with entrepreneur Dexter Knight (Don Franklin).
WHERE SHE IS NOW: After a fabulous wedding at their estate in the Hamptons, Regine settled right into being the wife of a wealthy man (who became even wealthier during the tech boom) and started working on making her dreams come true. Through her husband’s connections and relationships, plus proximity to a new tax bracket, she quickly built her business into one of the premiere black-owned luxury event production companies and published three books on the topics of entertaining and etiquette.
The couple were active in President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, hosting fundraisers at their home attended by black business, media and political luminaries.
Once Regine was ready to have a family, she assumed everything would quickly fall into place, but was shocked and distraught when she had difficulty conceiving. After several unsuccessful rounds of IVF, she and Dexter decided to adopt. While Regine at first felt embarrassed and angry about her struggles with fertility, she chose to be open about her story, creating a blog to share and document her experience. The blog garnered a massive following, with so many women — especially women of color — looking for a safe space and community for infertility discussion in the early ‘00s. Regine and Dexter adopted a beautiful set of twins, and Regine’s mom, Laverne (Chip Fields) moved in to help. About a year later, Regine was surprised to learn she was pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl that is a little diva just like her mom.
MAXINE & KYLE
WHERE WE LEFT THEM: Kyle and Max discover that by some twist of fate, the child Max is carrying through insemination is Kyle's. The two finally admit they still love each other and committed to raising their child together.
THE UPDATE: We got a glimpse into Maxine and Kyle’s future through Yvette Lee Bowser’s next show Half and Half, where we learned that they had moved to LA with their daughter and gotten engaged (although still lived in separate homes — next door to each other), and that Kyle had left Wall Street to pursue his acting career, much to Maxine’s chagrin, while she’d built a successful firm.
WHERE THEY ARE NOW: Kyle wasn’t able to do much with the acting career outside of chitlin’ circuit runs, so he started trading again on the side, but continued to go on auditions and take small roles on occasion. He finally got his big break a few years ago on a Netflix original series, forcing Maxine to admit his acting career hasn’t been a total waste of time.
Maxine left her thriving private firm eventually to become an Assitant District Attorney, with her eyes on getting back into politics at some point soon, now that their daughter is almost done with college and heading to law school. She was a Hillary Clinton surrogate in 2016 and is always at the ready to give smoke to anybody coming for her namesake, Congresswoman Waters.
After an extremely long engagement, Kyle and Max finally made it official right before their daughter started high school, mostly at her urging. Max asked if they could continue to live in separate houses. Kyle said no.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Are they all still friends?!
The ladies are in a GroupMe chat together, and keep up with each other’s foolishness on a regular basis… unless Max and Khadijah are mad at each other. Or Max and Regine are mad at each other. Or…
Overton and Kyle grew up together; they’re brothers. They can go ages without talking, then pick back up right where they left off.
Max, Kyle, Khadijah and Scooter hit Martha’s Vineyard with the kids every August for Howard University alumni's annual gathering, Bison Week. Synclaire and Overton often host Thanksgiving (Kyle and Max come over after dinner with his parents), and Regine and Dexter have a huge annual New Year’s Eve soiree. As with all of us, as life progresses and becomes more involved, the days of kickin’ it with your people become fewer and farther between, but the love never goes away.