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New Amazon comedy 'Harlem' is behind that controversial restaurant poster at Ponty Bistro

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

Screen grab via Instagram/pontybistro

The new Amazon comedy "Harlem" is behind a controversial restaurant poster in the neighborhood.

An ad for a new eatery called Chalmette Fusion Bistro—with the tag line "The New Soul of Harlem" accompanied by an image of four white diners—appeared yesterday in the windows of French-African restaurant Ponty Bistro at 2375 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd and W 139th Street.

After cries of gentrification began circulating on social media, Ponty Bistro chef Ejhadji Cisse quickly clarified the situation in a video post.

Cisse explained that the new Amazon series "Harlem" (a.ka. "Untitled Tracy Oliver Project") had been using the restaurant for filming and had put up the poster for an episode "addressing the topic of gentrification which is something that continues to be a focal point in our community."

The chef also said that the production had "filmed at our location several times in order to launch this new and exciting show which features an all Black cast. We were excited to be part of this show and the facilitation of more representation of people of color on TV and and behind the scenes wholeheartedly!"

The producers, he added, "have been working with the 139th St block association and compensating the surrounding restaurants and neighbors for this shoot. They have been absolutely wonderful in supporting and giving back to the community and they have helped us stay afloat during these unprecedented times."

“Harlem,” which has been filming in the neighborhood these last few months, is a “comedy series following the lives of four Black women—friends from their college days at NYU—as they navigate sex, relationships and chasing their dreams," according to Variety.

The show includes stars Whoopi Goldberg and Jasmine Guy, who recently joined the cast.

The series is the second show about four Black friends living in Harlem headed to the small screen; "Run the World," which also has been filming in the area, is the other.

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