“Single Ladies” Creator Stacy Littlejohn Shares Her Success Secrets
By Dreux Dougall
When scripted African-American shows started drowning in a sea of reality TV, there was little doubt that a life preserver was needed to save black programming from these murky waters. It was a huge relief when Stacy Littlejohn responded to this crisis by creating the hit show “Single Ladies.” One of the most popular scripted shows on VH1, “Single Ladies” drew an audience of 3.3 million viewers for its recent season finale. Littlejohn led the show to stunning success as executive producer and head writer as well, penning the intimate conversations between Val, Keisha, April, and their friends. Through vividly depicting their wild adventures, Littlejohn kept us glued to the tube every Monday night. The Atlanta Post sat down with Stacy to discuss what inspired her to tell these characters’ stories, how she got into television, and what we can look forward to during “Single Ladies: Season 2.” Plus, this 15-year industry veteran shares advice for upcoming writers just starting out. Here’s what Littlejohn had to share with The Atlanta Post audience.
Let’s start at the beginning. Where are you from originally?
I’ve lived all over — in Hayward, in Oakland — but mostly just the Bay area.
You originally had plans to be a lawyer. Tell us about the moment you decided to be a writer instead.
That moment came in college. I had wanted to be a criminal defense lawyer. But then I realized I might be defending people who have actually killed someone or done really bad things. For whatever reason that really stopped me in my tracks. I have a very heavy conscience. From that moment on I realized, “I don’t want to do this anymore!” Then I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I took a semester off and tried to refocus.
I realized that as a little kid I used to watch a lot of television. I used to watch “Perry Mason,” who was a criminal defense lawyer. And I thought, “Wait a minute! Was it that I wanted to be a lawyer like Perry, or was it that I like the way the shows were written?” I used to be really impressed when I saw the way things were written on TV shows.
When I looked around the TV landscape, I didn’t see a lot of black shows that I could be proud of. I thought, “Maybe I could do that, maybe I can write some shows,” and that’s kind of how it happened. It was all these maybes, maybes, maybes — that turned into, “Alright, let me stop saying maybe. Let me just try it!”
I got internships at TV stations and realized that is what I was destined to do. I started writing and it was very natural for me. It was fun and something I became passionate about quickly.