Last year I blogged about five TV shows about Black women to watch in 2017 and this remains one of my most popular blog posts. Luckily, 2018 television is also filled with content that features Black women in lead roles. Check out the list below.
This Black-ish spinoff follows Zoey Johnson, played by Yara Shahidi, into her first semester at college. The show features a young, diverse cast and does not shy away from topics relevant to today’s young adults. While it’s not A Different World 2.0, it still speaks to the Black middle-class experience in the age of neoliberalism – albeit without a critical lens.
She’s Gotta Have It
Spike Lee brings us his first Netflix joint in this modern revamping of his hit film. The show stars Dewanda Wise as Nola Darling, who wants you to know about her life “as a sex-positive polyamorous pansexual” Black woman. This modern retelling attempts to tackle issues long left untouched in most Spike Lee films. The project turns out just how you’d expect.
The police thriller has long been a popular genre of American art. Films, television shows, even hit Reggae songs, have long recounted tropes about violence and crime in one narrative form or another. What makes Fox’s 9-1-1 unique is that it stars Angela Bassett and that’s reason enough to give it a watch. Angela Bassett plays Athena Grant, a field sergeant. The show balances aspects of workplace and family drama, so Bassett fans will be thrilled to watch her grapple with the character.
Ava Duvernay’s hit television show follows three siblings in Louisiana after the death of their father. The siblings, two sisters, and a brother must come together to manage the farmland and sugar production they inherited from their father. The show does not shy away from topics of race, sexuality, and gender. It’s an emotional ride with poignant storytelling.
Black Lightning on the CW represents a handful of superhero narratives that center Black people and Blackness. Furthermore, it attempts to address ongoing political issues about race and police violence. The story features two Black women, one of whom is the first Black lesbian superhero on television. The show has its problematic points, particularly around race and class, but watching Black women fight corruption will always be enjoyable.
Dear White People
This Netflix show expands on the hit film Dear White People. The story follows Samantha White, a young Black woman chronicling the racism she experiences on an Ivy League campus. Like the film, the show attempts to confront White viewers about their racism and educate them on how to engage with people of color. The show also speaks to issues about sex, friendship, and class.