So you’ve been on your Roku TV set, looking for something new to watch, and as you keep scrolling and scrolling, something clearly needs to be asked of the current moment in television: what Black TV shows are out now?
Yeah, yeah. Of course, you know what Black TV shows have been out and talked about (e.g., Run the World, P Valley, Insecure), and like the self-respecting black person you are, you’ve seen them all (or at least given them a chance!), and you need some newly-minted melanin TV shows in your life.
While Hollywood certainly has responded to the death of George Floyd with an increased spotlight on Black content, the resulting Black TV shows haven’t exactly gotten the marketing, reception or, quite honestly, the budgets to make it to the top of the charts and hearts of of the black audience.
That said, there are some good shows out there, and we want to help you find them. So here’s a nice little list (we’ll try to update this every month) to answer the very simple question of, “what black TV shows are out now?”
1. Women of the Movement (ABC, Hulu)
Women of the Movement is a limited TV series event based on the true story of Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley. Brought to network television in partnership with Target, the series is officially available on Hulu and available for streaming. Obviously, this real-life story is filled with a lot of black pain and trauma, but contrary to popular belief, I do think these stories should always and forever be told. For as unfair and unjust as it may be, the genesis of the African-American story is birthed in pain but lived and experienced in the never-ending pursuit of joy. This series does a really good job of taking us from pain to joy, and I highly recommend you check it out.
2. Our Kind of People (Fox, Hulu)
It’s quite amazing that it took this long for a Black TV show about Martha’s Vineyard to come out, but that’s what we have with “Our Kind of People”, which is out now and available on Hulu for streaming of the entire first season. As oft-talked about as Martha’s Vineyard is among a certain class of black people, I don’t think its presence, past or present, is widely recognized by the Black population, so I’m hoping the view into this world of people, such that it is, opens this little island, and all it means to the rising prevalence of Black prosperity, to the hearts and minds of young Black men and women across the country. Unfortunately, it did get cancelled after its first season, but you can still watch season 1 if you hurry.
3. The Wonder Years (ABC, Hulu)
Yes, believe it or not, yet another network TV show tops our list of Black TV shows that are out now. It’s as if they just discovered us! Anyway, I’m a Black, millennial, male, and while I know not many of us grew up watching the original version of this “slice of life” show that “looked back” at the life of a prepubescent teenager growing up in the 60s, I did, and I did so very excitedly. And for those that didn’t watch the original “The Wonder Years”, it was also the precursor with the more millennial-celebrated “Boy Meets World”, which I know was the more likely of the two to be the coming of age show for boys growing up in the 90s. So when I found out they were making an updated version of “The Wonder Years”, based on a young, Black, boy, I was extremely ready to check this out. The show features a Black boy growing up in Alabama in the 60s, and it’s filled with all of the stuff your “typical” Black boy has to “deal” with. I’m just wondering, with all this glorification of the 60s, when do the 90s become something we look to relive through television?
4. Black-ish (ABC, Hulu)
It is one of the original gangstas of the Black TV renaissance; however, despite it being one of the best Black TV shows ever, the show finally came to an end during last year’s 8th and final season. The show that brought Anthony Anderson from nominally noticeable black sidekick in almost exclusively black movies to the face we all love to see on our TVs every single week is making the rounds with a final push to the end of the series. It’s so amazing to watch how all of the children have grown up both physically and professionally. We also have to marvel at how Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross look better now than they did at the end of the show–I guess that’s what over 150 episodes, and a few million dollars earned will do for the aging process!
5. Grand Crew (NBC)
This brand new comedy centers around a crew of young, Black adults, all professionally driven, living with the ups and downs of trying to figure out how to be grown ups. Like so many of the great Black TV shows, the crew often finds themselves gathered up at their favorite Los Angeles bar recapping the events and sagas of their rollercoaster lives. Definitely worth a watch, as Grand Crew just may be the modern, Black, West Coast version of “Friends” you’ve been waiting for!
6. Abbott Elementary (ABC, Hulu)
Abbott Elementary is from the genius that is Quinta Brunson, and wow, did she bring the IQ on this show. Honestly, while I thought the show was good upon my first watch, I was a little ho-hum about it to start, as it seemed like just another version of The Office. But it only took one more episode for me to really get the difference between a workplace comedy in the office and workplace comedy at a school. And upon further thought, not only have we never really seen the comedic elements of black teachers, given they’re usually relegated to dramatic stories about failing Black, public schools, but I’m not sure we have every really seen the lives and careers of teachers of any ethnicity told in a comedic way that wasn’t based on their relationship with a particular student or two. So props to Quinta for bringing a slice of Black life and teaching life to the sitcom world.
7. Harlem (Amazon Prime)
So, we have another show going for the hearts of the modern-day black women, and the men who love them, by offering us up another quartet of amazing Black, female lives to follow–and this series will be around for a while! Living Single was probably the original, and following that, we had Girlfriends. Most recently, we’ve had the critically-loved Insecure, along with up-and-comers “Run the World“, and “First Wives Club“, which oddly enough, is based on a movie about a group of white women. But bringing it back to “Harlem”, starring Megan Good, this show might be the next in line as the one that Black people can circle around to call their own. No shade to the others, as they have their own merit too, but as the most recent edition, and the one that is out now (relatively speaking), this one does a tremendous job of giving us twists and turns, the quest for success, the search for love, and more importantly, the meaning of an amazing, Black-woman friendship. Read more analysis on Harlem on Amazon Prime here.
8. Tyler Perry’s Sistas (BET)
What can I say about this show that hasn’t already been said? Now airing in its fourth season on BET, this show has so many Black women, young and old, talking about it after every, single show. It’s hard to discount it, which is why I probably should include it among the aforementioned Black-woman friend group shows. This dramedy, starring KJ Smith, does not hold back on the drama part of the equation. So if you’re looking for something to give you that soap opera feel during primetime, then this may be the Black TV show for you!
9. South Side (HBO Max)
I’m not going to lie, I was late to the game on “South Side” during its initial run on Comedy Central in 2019, but it has since moved over to HBO Max, and I must say, it is definitely worth the watch. It’s set in Chicago, and unlike everybody’s favorite Black television drama, “The Chi”, “South Side” has no problem making fun of the silly parts of growing up Black in Englewood.
10. This Is Us: The Randall Part of the Family (NBC)
Listen, many will disagree with me, but my point is simply that while This Is Us as a whole is not a Black TV show, it sometimes becomes one when covering Randall and Beth. While the show is super well done, I’m not sure I ever get drawn to its romantic waxing of American history without everybody telling me how amazing and compelling the story of Randall is. And while the story of the Black man who “makes it” and struggles with some form of loneliness or “otherism” because he’s professionally outperformed the average Black person is a plot I don’t really care for any more, This Is Us does this extremely well, touching more upon how his success hasn’t necessarily pushed him to question himself, but to explore how he can bring about that success in other people. So give it a try, and I won’t blame you if you fast-forward to all of the scenes with Randall in them!
What other Black TV shows are out now?
We didn’t want to lead you on, so we wanted to be sure to provide you with a list of the most talked about Black TV shows on major streaming services and network TV. However, don’t sleep on the up-and-coming services and shows out there, especially black-owned streaming services like BlackOakTV (our parent company), which delivers brand new content every single week. We highly recommend checking out some of the amazing Black TV shows they have out now while you’re in the midst of a search for something new to watch. You can try these out to get started:
- The Closet Bitch (BlackOakTV) – Shana Solomon is a super quiet, but incredibly motivated, black woman, but if you test her the wrong way, you just might feel her wrath. The real-life Shana Solomon plays herself in this amazing series, and she also plays another dozen of the characters in this show.
- My LA Hood Stories (BlackOakTV) – “G” is just your ordinary, teenager kid trying to make it in the hood streets of LA. He’s not out to gangbang, fight, steal, or any of the other tropes we often see. However, temptation is all around him, and street life is hard to avoid where he lives. Find out how he avoids it all, and still manages to have a good time doing it. A brand new season is coming soon.
- First Dates (BlackOakTV) – Not unlike Grand Crew, “First Dates” focuses on Samantha and her crew of misfits who meetup at the local bar from time to time. Sam is newly divorced and using dating apps for the first time. What could go wrong? Find out by watching the first 2 seasons, now streaming.