I love television.
And before you nod your head, thinking 'yeah, doesn't everybody', let me stop you. Everyone likes television, some only tolerate it, me, I love it. I used to spend every day of my childhood, and parts of my teenage years, imagining I was a part of whatever series I was currently binging.
But you see, that's the thing. I always had to imagine myself within the television shows in order to feel like I actually belonged in the show, as if the show was meant for audiences like me. For a Black girl like me. I imagined myself in shows because I couldn't find the Black representation that I needed. None of the characters talked like me and my friends. None of them dealt with the same problems of my community. None of them was the representation I craved.
Then, Marvel released Black Panther. As I left the theater, I released a breath I hadn't known I been holding. For the first time, I didn't have to imagine myself in the television, because for the first time I saw myself in every character. For the first time, the Black representation I craved was embodied in every frame. For the first time, I could find a hero who looked and sounded like me. Made by people like me. For the first time, in a long time, I – and Black people alike – finally had heroes who didn't have blue eyes and blonde hair. And that meant the world to me.
While we still have a long way to go, it should be acknowledged that Hollywood seems to be taking the right step towards diversity both in cinema and television, with films like the aforementioned Black Panther, Sorry To Bother You, and If Beale Street Could Talk making waves artistically and for the culture. To make sure that you are up-to-date with the melanated representation that's gracing our screens, here are the top Black-led TV shows that you should check out this January and beyond.
Season Premiere Date: January 2
Channel: Freeform, Hulu (available two days after episode airs)
After surviving freshman year, season two will follow Zoey (Yara Shahidi) and her friends as they take on sophomore year at Cal U with a renewed sense of confidence. In fact, they might be a bit too confident, naively believing that they will know exactly what to expect. Nevertheless, they will be quickly proven wrong. Attacking the issues of relationship and friendship rules, insecurities, anxiety, and everything in between, Grown-ish will show that the group and the show are coming into their own.
Featured image by Art Streiber/Freeform