I love anything that has to do with media and television. However, growing up I did not see many characters in tv shows/movies that looked like me. I am Nigerian-American. One of my favorite tv shows as a kid was That’s So Raven. That is So Raven was about a psychic teenager Raven juggling being psychic and teen drama of high school, friendships, romance, etc. She was a black character. I loved seeing someone of my race being on my television. I could relate to her experiences and struggles. There needs to be more black movies/tv shows to showcase black stories, experiences, culture, struggles, triumphs, etc. Luckily, streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have content created by and about black people: Netflix’s section “Black Stories.” Here are 4 Movies/TV shows with the representation I’ve been searching for.
Photo via @insecurehbo
Last summer, I could not really do much due to coronavirus. So, I stayed home and watched a lot tv. I started watching Insecure. It was created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore. This comedy shows the adventures of Issa Dee living in LA. It shows the black female experience. The show displays how Issa handles relationships, work, friendships, and everyday life. Usually, pilot episodes are not the best. However, I was laughing the entire time. In addition, I could relate to Issa: always being a minority in every situation. I watched the entire show in 2 weeks. There have been four seasons with the final season coming out soon. I recommend this show to anyone 18 and up due to the explicit language and occasional sexual content. You can watch it on HBO Max.
- Hidden Figures
I saw Hidden Figures my junior year of high school. Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae, this movie tells the story of three African American women mathematicians at NASA who were behind the operations of sending John Glenn into space. The movie shows the struggles and discrimination while working at NASA. Yet, the movie showcases their triumphs too. I never heard of this story in history class. In my classes growing up, Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks were primarily the only two black stories discussed. I wish Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson were talked about. This is a brilliant movie that won many accolades. You can watch it on Disney+.
A couple of weeks ago I watched Soul starring Jamie Foxx. This animated movie explores the struggles of personal identity, passions, and what things truly drive people. It is complex so I do not want to spoil it. All I will say is that it made me truly reflect on who I am. I thought it was a fantastic movie that will spark discussions after. It is available on Disney+!
Finally, All-American! I love this show. Spencer James is an extremely talented high school football player from Crenshaw, Los Angeles. One day, he gets recruited to play football at Beverly Highschool. The show centers around Spencer juggling life between upscale Beverly Hills and his roots of Crenshaw. It talks about classism, racism, Black Lives Matter, mental health, and much more. There’s drama, action, and laughs along the way. There are two seasons, and the new season is premiering now on the CW. You can watch seasons 1-2 on Netflix.