“Maxine Shaw, Attorney-at-Law” is one of the beloved main characters from the hit ‘90s sitcom Living Single, as portrayed by Erika Alexander. The show would be entirely different without Max’s playful energy, and a new Facebook video interview with Alexander reveals that at one point, she wasn’t sure if the role would be hers to keep.
“I was told that one of the big head honchos, after the table read, said ‘Hey, we’re going to have to get rid of Erika because she’s not doing well at this table read,’” Alexander revealed during her chat with Shadow & Act on Wednesday. She said that she was nearly replaced by another actress for the role.
“I don’t know how I couldn’t not do well, since I had just auditioned the day before and got hired,” she said. Although, she did have some fans who rallied to keep her on board. “There was another head honcho who called him out and said, ‘If you say anything about Erika Alexander, I’ll beat your ass,’” she explained. She and T.C. Carson, who portrayed Kyle Barker, were the last two cast members to be hired on the show.
The conversation sprung up during a discussion about the show’s creator, Yvette Lee Bowser, revealing that she had to fight to keep the character of Maxine in the show. During the Q&A, Alexander said that she had no idea about that situation until Bowser discussed it in a 2019 interview. (“That was news to me,” she said).
She also gave sound advice to black creatives who are working against a big machine.
“If somebody says no, you have to go around another way,” she said. “...It’s not easy to do that. I hate that people who are trying to sell things that are not in the so-called mainstream have to work so hard to put their voices out there, but that’s just the way it is.”