When Black life in the city of Chicago is portrayed in media such as television shows like Showtime's The Chi, oftentimes only the gritty violent aspects of the city are shown. However, South Side showrunners and Emmy-award nominated producers Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin are forgoing the violent narrative and depicting entrepreneurship and bonds between family and friends through humor with their sitcom. In 2019, South Side made its debut on Comedy Central and now, two years later, has found a new home and a new audience on HBO Max.
"I think there are a lot of misconceptions, especially if you're not from there," Riddle said about working to show the area in a positive light. "The news media makes it seem like it's death and mayhem 24 hours a day. If it were, people would not ever want to go home. They love their neighborhood. But anytime you talk to somebody from South Side, Chicago, they sound like they're from the southwest side of Atlanta, they sound like they're from South Central LA and they love their neighborhood. People love where they're from. So our show exists, in part, just to correct the misconceptions that are out there in the world. We want to set the record straight," Riddle added.
South Side follows two friends who embark on a path of entrepreneurship in Chicago's Englewood community, after graduating community college. As we are reintroduced to the main characters, played by Salahuddin's brother Sultan and Kareme Young, we find them working at a rent-to-own business. Riddle, who aside from co-producing the series also stars in the series, spoke about the family environment onset and off, which consists of the Salahuddin brothers along with Bashir Salahuddin's wife, Chandra Russell. He shared that although he is not a part of the Salahuddin family, he and Bashir (the two first met in college) were able to build a family by choice working together on Chocolate News, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, as well as cranking out comedy and TV shows with everybody from Maya Rudolph to Drake to The Last O.G. to Sherman Showcase, which just won an Emmy.