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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at York U chapter.

The TV industry has not always welcomed Black individuals, especially as leading characters. Black women have had to work especially hard to establish themselves and achieve successful careers, as they face double discrimination for being both Black and a woman. However, in recent years this diversity has not only been  more accepted, but also wanted. Directors of television shows have begun casting Black women, and are even creating shows that represent them. So in light of Black History Month, to celebrate the great contributions and achievements that have been made on our history and culture, here are some popular TV shows on Netflix that feature strong Black female leads.

Chewing Gum

Set in London, England, Michaela Coel stars as Tracey Gordon, a mid 20 something year old who has been repressing herself and her sexuality because of her religious upbringing. Chewing Gum follows her awkward and hilarious, but relatable journey as she navigates through life and tries to break free from her strict religious ties. Yet, even in its light hearted nature this show brings up important themes of race, class, gender, and faith. If you’re looking for a refreshing comedy that will have you both laughing and cringing, this is it!


Photo via IMDb


Dear White People

Dear White People is comedy-drama that follows the lives of four Ivy League students who embark on a campus war against White people. It addresses the racial politics, cultural biases, and social injustices at a predominantly White college. While this show has been mildly controversial, namely for its title, it is worth checking out as it aims to further reflect on and bring awareness to a society in which people of colour try to communicate but are not always heard.

Photo via IMDb



Produced by Oprah, Greenleaf is a dysfunctional family drama that follows the Greenleaf family and all of their scandalous secrets and lies. It focuses on the journey of an estranged daughter who returns home twenty years after the mysterious death of her sister. As she tries to rejoin her family’s life, she realizes that the parents who run a megachurch may be hiding some dark secrets. If you’re looking for a new drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat, give this one a try!


Photo via IMDb

How To Get Away With Murder

American drama, How To Get Away With Murder stars Viola Davis as Annalise Keating, a criminal defense attorney and law professor. She teaches a class on, well, how to get away with murder. Five of her best students are selected to intern with her, but get caught up in a murder plot that they must cover up; ultimately changing the rest of their lives. If you enjoy crime and suspense, this show is for you!


Photo via IMDb


Seven Seconds

Another American crime drama, Seven Seconds follows the story of an African American teenager who dies in a hit and run incident on his bike, by a White police officer. The aftermath of the situation leaves the city in a racial tension as the police department attempt to cover up the incident. But there is a hard search for the truth in order to bring justice to the young teen and to the Black community. Start this thriller and it will keep you wanting more!


Photo via IMDb


The TV industry has made, and is continuing to make great progress towards Black representation as leading characters in shows, especially females. The shows listed above are great examples of this, as television networks are becoming increasingly diverse. So whether you are looking for a comedy, thriller, or drama, there are a range of options available to watch and appreciate the progress and contributions Black women have made to the television industry.


Wilfrid Laurier University Alumna - BA Honours History & Minor in Sociology and Religion and Culture. York University B.Ed. Her Campus York U Campus Correspondent/ HSA Advisor/ Chapter Advisor.  When I'm not leading the team, advising, or writing you'll find me watching any and every reality T.V show or re-runs of Friends and Gilmore Girls. Semi-classy wine lady who thinks pineapple on pizza is a crime.
Her Campus at York University