“Girlfriends” Cast Get Emotional Talking About Toni Leaving The Show & A Possible Movie
After the cast of “Girlfriends” appeared on an episode of “black-ish,” they sat down with superfan Charlamagne to discuss the legacy of the show, the relationship between the cast members and more. See how the conversation went down below.
Charlamagne: How did you feel not getting that closure?
Tracee: It was hard. Also, keep in mind Jill left us. That ending was no bueno.
Jill: That finale where Joan and Toni were at that time—there was no closure there.
Tracee: Then the last episode we actually shot was during the writer’s strike, I directed it. None of our crew and regular people were there. So it was so no closure. We had no party, nothing.
Golden: We actually didn’t even know really.
Persia: We just got a phone call.
Tracee: And then it just went into the abyss.
Jill: I had like five, six lunch meetings with Mara [Brock Akil]. I was to come back for four episodes at the end.
Charlamagne: There was to be closure.
Jill: Oh yeah.
Tracee: Our show, it wasn’t financially the smart decision — and our show wasn’t as important to them as it was to our community.
Toni leaving the show
Tracee: It was so different.
Golden: It’s kind of like having four children and one leaves off for college. It would be if any of us were to leave. So it was difficult.
Tracee: It was really weird. It was weird for a lot of reasons. We didn’t know what are we doing? What stories are we telling?
Whether or not Toni had beef with her other castmates
Charlamagne: There was always speculation that it was beef between you and the other women, was there?
Jill: No! Let me say this. What a lot of people don’t know is that “Girlfriends” was my third audition in town. The first audition I booked. Second one I didn’t. Third one I booked: “Girlfriends” So I’m on this show for six years. I know no casting people. They don’t know my name is what I’m saying. I know no producers. Studios don’t know me, networks don’t know me. So, I have this six year contract. I booked “Girlfriends” at 25. So now, not only am I a woman, I’m a Black woman. So I’m thinking, ‘I’ve got to get stuff going.’ Because I don’t know what’s next. So fear played a part. Studios and networks they can fire you at any time but we have a contract. There was something I loved about having the conversation with myself, ‘Do I want to sign a new contract? Where do I want to go in my personal career?’ I have that choice and at the time, it felt right for me.
Charlamagne: Did you have any conversation with the rest of the cast?
Jill: I didn’t and that’s—the fans, them first for sure I regret. But the reason why I didn’t was because I was afraid that the whole business aspect of it. Then number two, the fans—I didn’t know that you have to make an announcement that you’re changing a job.
Charlamagne: Did any of y’all think that Jill was being selfish?
Jill: I sent them flowers on their first day.
Golden: One thing you cannot do is tell someone or project how you would do something onto someone else. She made a choice that was right for her and that was her choice. And we have to respect that and we did.
Tracee: I’ll be honest, we were in the trenches the four of us together. It was so hard to navigate what we were navigating and we did a really good job considering what was there. We loved each other…And we were navigating it together. It was scary a lot of the time. And I think we did the best in trying to trust each other and support each other as we knew how.
Golden: We grew up together.
Tracee: We’ve never had a chance to have this conversation. I’ve had no—the only thing I felt was ‘Oh, that’s really scary.’ We had formed arms and legs and all of sudden one of our legs or arms is gone. And you want to respect someone’s choice but—
Charlamagne: It did seem like the beginning of the end.
Jill: That’s one of the things that really—I’m sorry I’m getting emotional. Through tears. That is one of things that bothered me. When I would hear people say, ‘What are you guys going to do without Toni?’ These women are still doing a show.
Tracee: But it was hard without you Jill.
Jill: But what I’m saying is, when other people would say that ‘You have these talented actors that are still working on a beautiful show.’ And it became a topic that I wish it hadn’t been.
Tracee: Understandable but I also have to say, the four of us were “The Girlfriends” and it’s like with Destiny’s Child, Supremes. It’s understandable. The place where you start is where people get invested and they fall in love.
Golden: They didn’t know.
Tracee: And I think we didn’t know.
Charlamagne: In hindsight, do you think you made the right decision?
Jill: I don’t regret leaving, no. The communication I would do that differently. But I think I made the best choice for myself at the time.
On whether or not there will be a “Girlfriends” movie
Golden: If navigated correctly, written correctly.
You can watch the fulll interview in the video below.