I remember when I was around 8 years old and every Thursday at 8:30pm I was glued to the screen, watching four black women who reminded me of women I’ve been around before. Living Single was the first time I saw people who reminded me of my aunties, my mother and the girlfriends of my mother. The funny banter about men, friendships and family seemed so familiar and relatable. Unfortunately during this era ( early 90’s) there weren’t many representations like this on our screens, so when they canceled Living Single after 5 seasons it was disappointing but unsurprising.
When it comes to the world of television or entertainment we, black people, didn’t have many examples of us on the screen: not even a commercial. It was as if you were just getting the idea of being in a committed relationship..then boom, they canceled the show for no good reason. Fast forward and we are now in an era where…let’s be candid, it’s cool to be black or black adjacent. Of course with anything that becomes popular or trendy, you have to filter out between the appropriating, the watered down, and the “too commercial”. But overall, I’m happy that we have enough that we can be the ones who filter them out. For the past few years I’ve been enjoying the win of having more diversity on screen and more relatability, especially when it comes to black women.
I mean we’ve been presented with black women on television when it comes to reality t.v but it wasn’t always in the best light. We came off like the stereotypical black woman; angry, drama, and bitter. Even though I did indulge (call it my guilty pleasure) however, now it’s the diversity for me. The single, lesbian, straight, single mom, married, etc black woman that we see that allows us to identify with them or know of someone they could identify with. To see a plethora of black women being represented in all different types of backgrounds, cultures and just overall individualities. So with that being said I wanted to share with you some shows that might be of interest. These shows could potentially inspire you, challenge you and make you feel that you aren’t alone.
In my opinion of course… check out the following shows that will move you as a black woman in some capacity.
Our Kind Of People
Our Kind Of People is a drama series with an all black cast that originally premiered on September 21st of last year. To be totally honest I wasn’t moved at first about entertaining it. Then an instant flashback of all the times we didn’t support a show or movie by our own and how it got canceled due to lack of support. So I feel like the least I could do is give it a view and if I don’t like it then I’ll have a valid reason I chose not to support. I personally thought it was going to be cheesy and they were going to overcompensate with black culture while lacking on the quality of the show. Whereas it does make sure it has the opportunity to intertwine the show with the roots and history of black culture, it wasn’t too much where it took away from the actual show.
The cast stars Yaya Decosta who plays the character Angela Vaughn (known for American Top Model’s runner up in cycle 3), Nadine Ellis who plays the character Leah Franklin ( I remember her for her role as newlywed Stacy Lawrence on BET’s Let’s Stay Together) Morris Chestnut who plays Leah’s husband Raymond Dupont and Lance Gross who plays Angela’s love interest. And we can’t forget the legendary Joe Morton and Debbie Morgan.
I love the story line because it allows us to view how status and power runs true within the black community too. You have Angela Vaughn (Yaya Decosta) who comes into town where, due to the powers that be and the elitis infrastructure of the aspirational town of Oak Bluff, make it hard for her to find her place. It has its twists and turns that keep you guessing and suspecting as a good drama should. It's refreshing to see black women become the focal point in roles as bosses and making power moves, and of course with that we can see that we aren’t above treachery and playing the game the way men play it.
I appreciate how this show highlights black women building legacies and empires while becoming moguls and the “HBIC”. How can that NOT motivate you and inspire you in the same breath? The regalness, the afrocentric flare all gives what it is supposed to give. You can catch this show every week on FOX on Tuesday. It will be returning on January 11th 9pm/8 c. I typically watch it on HULU if you don’t have a cable subscription.
Run The World
Run The World is a comedy series that’s based on four black women in Harlem. It’s ironic how this show and another show I’m going to name (Harlem) takes place in Harlem and is based on four black women. However, just because they are similar in the premise, I feel as though RTW has a quirky, sassy and humorous mood about it. You get to see women in their (I’m assuming) early thirties, balancing their love life and career life with all the challenges of life. It gives me Living Single 2.0 because of the depth and relatability. Whereas Living Single covered relatable and controversial subject matters, it was during an era where it was hard enough to have a thriving black show; so barely scratching the surface was better than nothing. Plus they just gave us a delectable treat by having Erika Alexander as a recurring role by playing Ella’s boss.
The cast started Breesha Webb (TV One’s “That Girl”, Marlon) as Renee Ross, Andrea Bordeaux ( NCIS: Los Angeles ) as Ella McFair, Amber Stevens West ( ABC Family series: Greek, The Carmichael Show, CBS’s Happy Together ) as Whitney, Corbin Reid ( featured on ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder ) as Sondi and legendary Erika Alexander ( Living Single’s Maxine Shaw).
I find it interesting how they created backgrounds and scenarios that are relatable and aren’t often tackled in the scripted world. Ella gives us the perspective of facing challenges of being a major writing influence, to putting a book out and it flopping, and now she’s faced with reinventing her career. Sondi shows us the dynamic of being in a relationship with a man that has children who happens to be seasoned in age than she is. Renee faces the obstacles of going through a divorce because how you envisioned or planned to build a life with your partner is quickly flipped
when your partner grows from the plan. Then you have Whitney who’s getting cold feet when her life plans of career, marriage and building a family goes according to plan and she realizes… this isn’t what she wants.
It’s me seeing my sis in relatable situations and relationships that gives me “truth in humor”. We aren’t just simply the damsel in distress that’s heartbroken and subdued to her outcomes. We too make mistakes and suffer with career vs family, traditional vs nontraditional, and beauty vs the brains. Fortunately for you and I both, Starz has renewed the show for a second season. So you have time to catch up on the first season before they premiere the second this Spring. Watch on Sundays 9 pm on Starz
Now if you can’t get into Run The World ( which I feel you will) you definitely won’t be disappointed with Harlem. I told my friend about this show while I was only in the third episode and well…let’s just say by the time I spoke to her a couple of days later she’d finished the entire season. The show is charming, flirty, and compelling. When I describe it to others, I literally refer to it as Sex In The City if the cast were four black women. As I’ve stated it does run parallel with the previous show but I believe it’s space for both because they have their own identity. ( I wouldn’t even mind if they considered doing cameo’s on each other's show being that they're both based in Harlem. I can dream)
Harlem is a comedy series on Amazon Originals navigating about their careers and relationships. Whereas RTW focuses on the ladies' life decisions and choices; I believe Harlem centers more on relatable and considerably awkward scenarios that we face in life. Watching the ladies find their way through these situations is hilarious but real. Shouting back at the screen saying…”that’s exactly what I would’ve done”, regardless if it was wrong, right or indifferent.
The cast stars Megan Good as Camille, Grace Byers (Empire) as Quinn, Shoniqua Shandai as Angie, Jerri Johnson as Tye and legendaries Whoopi Goldberg and Jasmine Guy. Can’t really be mad at the cast.
I love how they delve into the background of each lady and we get to peek into why they are who they are. We see how Tye is challenged with feeling as though her fight with sexism and racism is justified by her tunnel vision perspective, Camile and Quinn is challenged with her fear of stepping out of her comfort zone when it comes to love and career, and Angie is challenged with knowing how to make the best out of unideal circumstances. It’s lessons within every episode. I don’t want to spoil it so I’ll just say… watch it and you definitely won’t be disappointed.
First Wives Club
I haven’t caught up on the third season as of yet but if you haven’t watched this jewel you are missing out. This cute remake of the movie First Wives Club ( that starred Goldie Hawn, Bette Middler and Diane Keaton) is definitely a hidden blessing I ran across. I mean I uploaded BET plus just because I wanted to make sure I didn’t have to wait to watch the third season. FWC is based on three women who rekindle their friendship after long abandoning it but help each other through a public divorce, cheating spouse and an unsatisfying marriage.
The cast consist of Jill Scott as Hazel Rachelle, Michelle Buteau ( Stand up Comedian) as Bree Washington, Ryan Michelle Bathe as Ari Montegomery, Malik Yoba as Derek Ellsworth and RonReaco Lee (Sister, Sister “Let’s Stay Together)
This show to me gives a perspective of the challenges we face in friendships as women. Even friendships have their challenges like any other relationships and it’s our job to nurture and build that friendship. Hazel is faced with how she takes advantage of her friendships due to her fame and being accustomed to being the center focus often. Ari has an issue with being in control and being the friend to have it all together but can’t be vulnerable enough with her friends to express her imperfections and feelings. Then Bree has to constantly be urged by her friends to find her sexy and confident again and not stepping into her full potential.
Overall it's a nice comedy that gives us a real friendship dynamic among real women and their life challenges. It has been renewed with a third season that I believe is currently streaming (but don’t quote me so look it up for yourself) It’s streaming on BET plus, Amazon Prime, or and Sling Premium.
Okay so this isn’t a scripted show but I can definitely say it’s a reality gem. I haven’t seen a reality show so refreshing since watching T.I and Tiny’s Family Values ( don’t argue with me). I wasn’t expecting this when I knew the show was going to be about an all minority women brokerage firm. I was expecting the usual stereotypical black women interactions: gossip, fighting, cliques. Even though you can say it touches on that a little, I like how they display conflict resolutions. It’s not a situation where it’s a constant back and forth of catty behavior and not getting to a point where we can find resolve without escalation.
The cast stars Sherelle Rosado (fiance and mother of child to Chad Ochocinco) Colony Reeves, Karla Gigorgio, Rena Frazier, Tennille Moore, Juwanna Williams, Anne Sophie Petit, and Alexis Williams
To see black and minority women push to find their footing in white dominating field, when it comes to luxury real estate, is inspiring within itself. We won’t even talk about those beautiful homes that are featured in every episode ( gives me ideas for days when it comes to my own home). The way they make the show more about the ins and out of real estate and the business is empowering and informative. The way they show you that women can be business minded and not let the cliche stigmas of love lives and pettiness not interfere in them obtaining the bag is refreshing. I watched the entire season in one sitting. So go on over to Netflix and get all caught up. Fingers crossed for a new season.
It’s some other shows I wanted to name but I’m still feeling my way through to see if it’s going to be a keeper for me or ehh. However, you may feel differently.
The show Twenties, created by Lena Waithe, is on my Honorable Mention because I haven’t technically seen the first season and I’m in the middle of the second. I can’t give a full overview on the dynamics of the show because I haven’t sat down and watched it interrupted. Although I will say I have enjoyed what I’ve seen thus far it’s still a lot I’m missing so I’m going to come back to this.
Queens is still out for the jury. I’m still titter and tottering on the storyline of four washed up rappers trying to make a comeback into the industry. I mean…is it even realistic? Or is this a show trying to capitalize on Black, Women and Hip Hip? I’m going to finish watching the entire season and we’ll go from there.
Well, My Opinion of course but I would love to find out your thoughts. So take a moment and indulge so I can be challenged with a different outlook