Erika Alexander says she feels like she's one of the girls in "Run The World."
Starring alongside Bresha Webb, Amber Stevens, Corbin Reid and Andrea Bordeaux in Season One, the "Living Single" actor reprises her role as the outspoken 50-something-year-old Barb in Season Two of the series, which follows the four women as they navigate life and love in their 30s. Barb regularly goes to clubs and hangs out with her employee, Ella (Bordeaux), and her friends.
"I know that Barb thinks, and I do too, that it's a myth that there's a disconnect between generations, especially in the Black community," the 53-year-old actor tells TODAY.com.
She said she thinks intergenerational connections are often formed in response to a scarcity in representation.
"We spend a lot of time with people who are older than us, our elders, and younger. We're all thrown together in the same pot because there's so few of us and it makes us have to have conversations," she described, saying the show weaves in that aspect well.
“I love that there’s a generational dialogue, and the reciprocity of it and generosity is important, so that’s what I love about this show, and also about blooming the community of people who connect," she says.
In her social life, Alexander says she's at an age where she finds herself bridging the gap between the 70-year-old-plus crowd and the college-aged population.
"I had conversations with Whoopi Goldberg and Phylicia Rashad, and people like Cicely Tyson, and they they built me," she says. "If you see me, you're seeing a piece of them. But I also have conversations with young people all the time, where I go and I teach master classes, or I say hello at HBCUs, and we have that conversation."
When teaching, she says she shares stories of the giants she's spent time with, such as Rashad. She also discusses whatever the college students want to, and it inspires her, she says.
"They teach me, not only slang, but what's important to them and how they're looking at life," she explains. "I get a new energy and a new perspective, because sometimes you can get very myopic."
Alexander says Barb gets that same feeling from her employee, Ella, a reporter at the news outlet Barb manages. The actor says it's important to show Black women in this way, especially as leaders and leading companies.
"Black women had been working in America since they got off the boat," she says.
She said having Black women in leadership positions like Barb's reinforces the idea that Black women can run things.
"When you think about the allocation and the delegation of responsibilities, they've been the generals and sergeants of households, and manors and big houses and society for a very long time," she says, referring to the variation of skillsets.
"I have no doubt that that's been passed down to us because when you get in a room, often with Black women, (the) first thing we do is we actually know who (is) in that room," she explains. "We're going to know that type of feeling and that order and that organization and that long vision is there because that's what we've had to be to survive and thrive."