Bringing an engaging tale about navigating tricky corporate waters, ‘The Other Black Girl’ is a Hulu comedy mystery show created by Zakiya Dalila Harris and Rashida Jones. The show is set in contemporary New York, with the Wagner Books Publishing House offices at the center. Nella Rogers, assistant to Editor Vera Parini, works within the editorial team as the only African-American person in the office. As a result, she’s stuck dealing with her co-workers’ constant minor missteps and the more grating microaggressions all on her own. However, when the company hires Hazel May-McCall to work alongside her, Nella expects a brief relief from the pressure of being the only Black woman in the workplace. Nevertheless, Helen’s attitude and outlook make Nella wonder if the woman is her friend or foe.
The show gradually builds up to a big reveal, taking risks within its genre and equipping gripping narrative twists and turns. If you’re curious to see where this tumultuous professional journey leads Nella and what it uncovers about Hazel, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘The Other Black Girl.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Other Black Girl Plot Recap
Nella Rogers is a dedicated worker who gives her all to a moderately awful job due to its potential to become something promising. Crossing the Wagner Books Editor Wall of Fame every day, Nella passes a portrait of Kendra Rae Phillips, the only Black Editor in the company’s history. Kendra was the editor of the book “Burning Heart” by Diana Gordon, Nella’s all-time favorite read, which informed her lifelong ambition of telling stories at Wagner Books.
Soon, Nella gets introduced to the newest hire, Hazel May-McCall, another assistant to an editor like her. On Hazel’s first day, she and Nella establish an easy rapport built on similar workplace experiences as the only two black women on the floor. As a result, Nella shares her recent professional roadblock. Frank Colin, Wagner Books’ most profitable author, is publishing his latest release through Vera. However, after Nella reads the book, she realizes the only Black character in the story, Shatricia, is a problematic and offensive community stereotype.
However, Vera advises Nella against bringing up the issue with Colin for the company’s sake. Inversely, Hazel encourages Nella to stand up for her beliefs and promises to be in her corner if needed. During the following office party for Colin’s book announcement, Hazel ropes Nella into a conversation about the book with Colin and Vera. As such, Nella raises her issues about Shatricia, only to be left high and dry by Hazel, who claims to have not found the character offensive in her read-through.
Consequently, Nella loses out on her promotion, ending up in hot water with Vera and Colin. The same day, Nella finds a threatening note in her coat telling her to “Leave Wagner Now.” Soon, Hazel manages to fix things between them by claiming the previous incident was a faux pas and standing up for Nella at the office. Furthermore, Hazel takes Nella to a big event that helps the latter make a bold impression on Richard Wagner.
Richard showcases interest in Nella’s ideas of re-releasing Burning Heart for its 35th anniversary. However, when Nella brings up the idea of including a forward by Kendra, Richard tells her that the official story about Kendra being a recluse is a lie and that she’s actually dead. Eventually, things drastically change around the Wagner office after Colin’s book gets leaked, leading to people canceling Wagner Books for supporting problematic artists.
Therefore, Richard decides to rebrand his company with the Burning Heart rerelease at its center. Getting Diana Gordon on board, Richard assigns Nella to be the assistant editor on the project. However, as her professional life flourishes, the woman who dropped the ominous note for Nella tells her Hazel is lying about her identity. Nevertheless, when Nella tries to meet up with the woman, she fails to show up after getting kidnapped by Hazel’s people.
Nella’s best friend, Malaika, continues to be suspicious of Hazel and believes she’s hiding behind a nice persona. As such, when Nella gets invited to a hangout session with Hazel and her friends, Maliaka accompanies her. After some snooping, the duo learns that Hazel has been “recruiting” black women and helping them become successful. When they dig deeper, they realize Wagner financially funds all these women’s workplaces, intentionally planting a network of successful Black women in different fields.
The Other Black Girl Ending: What Happened to Kendra Rae Phillips?
Throughout the show, Kendra Rae Phillips remains a mysterious figure whose presence irrationally haunts Nella. At first, Kendra’s disappearance after Burning Heart’s release is credited to her reclusive behavior. However, once Wagner takes an interest in Nella, he discloses that Kendra is actually dead. Therefore, as Nella begins to uncover Hazel and Wagner’s plan of controlling Black women to become their puppets, she suspects he must have done the same to Kendra.
During Hazel’s party, Malaika and Nella run into Ruby, one of Malaika’s exes. After Malaika broke up with Ruby, the latter woman took a crazed approach to revenge. However, now, she appears calm, collected, and highly successful in her field. Likewise, all the other women at the party were weirdly in sync, giving off cultish vibes with Hazel as their leader. As such, Hazel, Malaika, and Owen, Hazel’s boyfriend, conclude that Hazel must be mind-controlling women somehow to turn them into perfect corporate drones. Worse yet, Nella is their next target.
Regardless of the situation, Nella decides to attend Burning Heart’s re-release Wagner party to warn Diana about the truth behind the company. Despite the outlandish idea, Diana quickly believes Nella’s claims. By the time Nella realizes that Diana is the true mastermind behind the plan, she’s lost her advantage and ends up kidnapped by Diana’s secret organization. Diana takes Nella to a covert location where she tries to recruit her into their group by using a mind-controlling Hair Grease on her.
Nonetheless, Kendra arrives in the nick of time to rescue Nella and provides the final pieces to the puzzle. In 1988, Kendra and Diana, childhood friends, were preparing for the Burning Heart’s release. However, the two were in an argument since Kendra wanted Diana to keep the book’s original tragic ending to represent a more raw and authentic story. Inversely, Diana heeded Richard’s words and rewrote a new happy ending for the book. The divergence from authenticity rubbed Kendra the wrong way, leading to a fight between the pair.
When Diana tried to fix things between them, she secretly used a mysterious hair grease on Kendra. Hair grease is a tool developed to control people by taking away their negative emotions, like pain and anger. Essentially, the grease takes away a part of the individual’s soul and rewards them with their heart’s deepest desire. Eventually, Kendra caught on to the reality of her friend’s mind control and ran away from her old life.
In the present day, while Kendra lives on the run, Diana controls her perfectly orchestrated Sisterhood of successful Black women who voluntarily traded their true selves for success or were forced to do so by the organization. Kendra hears about Nella’s run-in with the group and decides to come to her rescue because while working at Wagner, Nella fought for Burning Heart’s original ending. In the end, Kendra rescues Nella and advises her to stay on the lam from Diana to escape being turned into a corporate pod by the Hair Grease.
Does Nella Use Diana’s Hair Grease?
Near the show’s end, Diana’s plan starts to come into focus with Nella at the center. Diana wants to have a plant in the Wagner Books Company to publish a new book. However, Diana doesn’t wish to publish it under her own name like she did Burning Heart. Instead, she wants to have a big audience, believing the book, written by herself and the Sisterhood, will forever change the way Black people perceive themselves.
Diana believes since Black individuals already have the system stacked against them, they should do whatever it takes to come out on top. Consequently, the cost of one’s soul and true personality becomes too small of a price to pay for success. The Hair Grease takes away the parts of what makes one a human but showers them with prosperity in social standing. Therefore, in Diana and her accomplices’ minds, their cause is justifiable even if they must force a few women into the lifestyle.
Nonetheless, Nella stays firm in her belief that being true to oneself is more important than social and professional success. Due to the same, Nella decides to risk her life and go up against the Sisterhood, starting with a plan to prevent Diana’s new book release. Diana is publishing her book through famous internet personality Jesse Watson, who was put on her radar by Nella.
Although Jesse publicly speaks out against Wagner Books and dislikes the company, Diana asserts control over him through the Grease. As a result, she can now publish her cause’s book under Jesse’s name to reach a wider audience with his clout. In retaliation, Nella and her friends put together a plan to leak Jesse’s book to turn his audience against him before he can brace them for the book release.
In doing so, Nella can rob Jesse of his legitimacy by painting him out as a sellout. The next night, Nella breaks into the Wagner office and steals a digital copy of Jesse’s book, but before she can leave, Hazel confronts her. During their partnership together in Wagner Books, Hazel finds a soft spot for Nella and doesn’t wish to see her turned against her will. Instead, she wants to show her the benefits of Diana’s control so that Nella can come to the decision herself.
Nella finds herself on the other end of an emotionally moving speech about systematic oppression and the right to fight for your dreams through whatever means necessary. In the end, Hazel leaves a bottle of Hair Grease for Nella, leaving the choice to use it up to her. The next day, Nella shows up at the Wagner office with a new hairstyle, radiating positivity. Diana and the others realize Nella has decided to use the Hair Grease and become a part of The Sisterhood.
As such, they welcome her with open arms, with Wagner promoting Nella to Senior Editor. However, unbeknownst to them, Nella is secretly infiltrating their organization to gain their trust and secrets. This way, Nella won’t have to hide in the shadows like Kendra and can actively work against Diana. As she settles into her new office, Maliaka and Kendra kidnap Jesse, Wagner Books’ star author, putting into motion a bigger plan to take Diana and the others out from the inside.
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