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.
Star Trek: Discovery
Star Trek: Discovery/CBS All Access
Season Premiere Date: January 17
Channel: CBS All Access, CBS app
Star Trek: Discovery is back for its second season, with lead Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham. If you missed last season, there is no need to worry, Discovery is an anthology series that tells different stories each season, rather than a continuous one. This season the USS Discovery and its captain, Michael Burnham, must face the demons from her past, and the hunt is on for a set of mysterious signals that appear all across the Federation.
Featured image by Art Streiber/Freeform