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It seems like it is no coincidence that Netflix rolls out new juicy seasons when we are at our busiest. However, if you are anything like me, a midterm or two will not stop you from binging a few mind-boggling shows as a treat. Netflix, in my opinion, has been upping its game with fair representation. By this, I mean they have centered more shows around a variety of different cultures.

And to no surprise, these shows have become global hits. Here are a few from my personal list that have representation of different cultures and communities on-screen with plotlines that will keep you wanting more:

Squid Game

Although this hit show is undeniably violent and gory, Squid Game presents a deep message.  It includes a South Korean cast navigating elements of family values, poverty and friendship — and who can ignore the scenery? The show follows characters through their lives of immense debt in Korean society until they enroll in a mysterious game that pans out to be a sort of “Hunger Games” — but with even more death and children’s games.

The emotion throughout the series is at an all-time high, and viewers are offered both dubbed audio or subtitles in multiple languages.

The South Korean drama has become Netflix’s most streamed series, racking up 111 million viewers since its initial release. Netflix made the exciting announcement on Oct.12 via Twitter, celebrating Squid Game as the company’s biggest series launch ever.

In comparison, Squid Game toppled over Bridgerton, which held the record for 82 million viewers during its debut.

Squid Game is a success in route to producing and extending more international and non-English content to audiences. It seems that the success found within South Korean dramas such as Squid Game will not stop here. In February, Netflix announced plans to spend $500 million in 2021 on series and films produced in South Korea.

Blood and Water

A South African teen-crime series with the lead cast being nearly all Black actors have made a major splash on Netflix. It conveys South-African traditions, native languages, family values and shows imbalances of both the wealthy and poor along with corruption. As a viewer, you are even exposed to some of South Africa’s popular music throughout the show, getting a glimpse into their society as teenagers.

The main protagonist is a Black young high school girl, who is portrayed to be extremely bright, driven, family-oriented and a remarkable detective. The other characters develop talents, grit and their own quirks that make them equally as important to the plot.

Blood and Water follow the 17-year-long disappearance of the protagonist’s sister that has become a cold case. However, upon her enrollment to an elite prep school, she grows suspicious of the school’s IT girl and believes she may be her long-lost sister. She begins a private investigation herself that slowly grows dangerous the closer she inches toward the truth.

Netflix released a new season this fall, kicking the show up a notch making it all the more thrilling.

Dear White People

Jumping into its fourth volume this season, Dear White People centers around its Black Student Union at an elite university. It follows a handful of main characters through their struggles as Black students navigating the early stages of adulthood.

The show also toggles with conversations that need to be had regarding racism, such as blackface, Black women learning how to safely navigate through society, Black LGBTQ+ relationships, sex work, police brutality and much more.

Volume 4 proved to be no different from its original framework, tackling important conversations.

An interesting twist this season is that the story is recollected by the main characters years in advance, and there are musical numbers throughout.

on my block

Regarded as groundbreaking upon its arrival, On My Block is back once again this season with its fourth season.

The show was one of the firsts of its kind. It followed Black and Latino kids in an undeniably poor neighborhood that dealt with heavy presence of gang violence in South Central Los Angeles while attending high school. The show encompasses different families, their kindness and their cultural traditions. Most importantly, it was relatable to plenty of kids and adults who grew up in communities of color all over the nation.

On My Block proves to be at times heavy in emotions, but the reality that it attempts to portray never takes away from the teen aspect of the main character and, if anything, adds to their maturity.

It is not all doom and gloom either — the show can be comedic, and the characters all have their own wit that will have you cracking up. The series even has a subplot circling around a treasure hunt that will keep things light throughout.

Without a doubt, Netflix has brought table-shaking series to its audiences. These shows are groundbreaking and have allowed communities to finally feel represented on the big screen. For others, it opens a new door of knowledge they would not have known otherwise. Representation is important for opening the floor to new conversations and — other times — finally feeling seen by someone.

Here’s to many more binge-worthy diverse and inclusive shows!

Lover of writing, literature, art and photography. Determined to not only help but give people a voice. Building a better world for all the people I love and have yet to love.
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