One of the best reasons to watch “And Just Like That” now in its second season on MAX is to witness actress Karen Pittman’s portrayal of Dr. Nya Wallace. She brings a sense of calm, dignity, and inner strength that makes you wish she had her own show.
With her talent, the vastness of New York City, and the complexity of Dr. Nya Wallace, she is more than capable.
To provide some context, “And Just Like That” is an American comedy-drama television series developed by Michael Patrick King for HBO Max. It serves as both a revival and a sequel to the HBO series “Sex and the City,” which was created by Darren Star and based on Candace Bushnell’s newspaper column and book anthology of the same name.
“Sex and the City” aired for six seasons, starting in 1998. From the very beginning, the lack of diversity and inclusion, not only in the main cast but also across the board, did not go unnoticed. However, the addition of Nicole Ari Parker, Sarita Choudhury, Karen Pittman, Sara Ramírez, and Christopher Jackson in the reboot is a welcome and somewhat miraculous change.
While inserting characters of color in the reboot cannot undo all the damage caused by their absence in the original “SAGC” universe, it has been met with skepticism from viewers, fans, journalists, and critics, including myself.
The sudden shift raises questions: Was it merely an attempt to appease the hashtag generation, where cancel culture reigns supreme? Or did it stem from a genuine realization that the absence of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) characters in leading roles was hurtful to millions of viewers worldwide?
The true motivations behind the addition of BIPOC characters remain unknown. However, what we do know is that they are now the highlights of the reboot. This brings me back to Karen Pittman, an actress with an extensive list of TV acting credits, including notable roles in “The Morning Show,” “Marvel’s Luke Cage,” and “The Americans,” among others.
In “And Just Like That,” Karen Pittman portrays Dr. Nya Wallace, a professor at Columbia Law School navigating the end of a 17-year relationship. While her character “crosses paths” with Carrie and Charlotte throughout the seasons, she primarily interacts with Miranda in the first two episodes as she teaches Miranda’s law class.
Here’s what Karen Pittman, who plays Dr. Nya Wallace, had to share about her character and the SAG-AFTRA strike in an interview with the Los Angeles Sentinel:
L.A. Sentinel: What surprised you, if anything, about the direction your character is going in season two of “And Just Like That”?
Karen Pittman: Well, I had conversations with Michael Patrick King, our show-runner, about what would likely happen with Nya in season two. Here’s a woman who’s been married for 17 years and now finds herself dumped unceremoniously, back in the dating pool.
KP: In season one, we were exposed to the characters, and in season two, there’s a unique opportunity to expand the story around these new characters, to delve deeper into who they are, their relationships, their friendships, and explore them independently from how we’ve been introduced to them.
LAS: I hate to go here, but I think the SAG/AFTRA strike is going to happen. Any thoughts?
KP: I believe it’s crucial to strike a balance in how artists are paid in this industry. The landscape has changed significantly even in the past few years. It’s time for us to closely examine it as an industry and for those empowered to make decisions about compensation. These conversations often happen in rooms with very few people of color present.
LAS: We are rarely in the room “where it happens.”
KP: Exactly… It’s crucial for us to engage in broader conversations about equity and value within this industry. This requires hard negotiations.
LAS: I hate this strike!
KP: Obviously, no one wants a strike, but if it leads to better compensation for people in this industry, it’s something we must stand up for. I’m fortunate to work with thoughtful collaborators who strive for equity in pay, and I’m grateful for it.
LAS: Equity in pay should be a basic right for all. Sorry, Karen, please continue.
KP: I feel it’s important for me to ensure that those who come after me and those who may not be doing as well as I am in this industry have the opportunity to move forward.
LAS: Karen, that was beautifully said. Move over, Fran Drescher. Karen Pittman, please take over. Let’s go.
KP: (laughs) No, I’m not ready to take over. We’re all activists in a way. Being an actor means being an activist. Over the years, I’ve learned how to articulate the need to stand up and use our platforms to drive social change.
LAS: Well said, Karen Pittman. Thank you.
Please note that this interview has been edited for length and clarity. Also, it is important to mention that this interview took place on July 13, before the implementation of the SAG Strike.