Skip to main content

FunTimes Magazine

5 Black TV Shows People Should Be Watching Right Now

Aug 03, 2021 02:00PM ● By Anand Subramanian

Films and television shows have become a means of communication and wield enormous political power. This platform's media has presented many types of Black culture, prompting the audience to consider their own culture and identity in a broader context while also learning about Black culture. Behind and in front of the camera, Black artists have developed an encyclopedia of work that has transformed the imagery of Black people across time while questioning every injustice and developing their aesthetics. In this article, we will look at 5 Black TV programs that range from surrealistic to realistic portrayals of Black lives and culture.

Dear White People

This Netflix series fosters an open and nuanced conversation about America's racial divide. Based on Justin Simien's highly acclaimed 2014 film of the same name, this show follows Samantha White (Logan Browning) and her classmates as they deal with stereotypes and open prejudice at Winchester University, a fictitious and mainly White Ivy League school. This remarkable show uses biting comedy, honesty, and absurdity to challenging the "post-racial" America that many have come to believe. Along with race discussion, the series portrays the narrative of discovering one's real identity and individuality in the face of inequity. Overall, this series is a wonderful combination of a brilliant statement on our racial injustice and a collegiate sitcom.

Figure 1 - Poster from “Dear White People” Series. Source - Google

The Corner

This brutally genuine and overpowering six-part tale follows Gary (T.K Carter), Fran (Khandi Alexander), and their child DeAndre(Sean Nelson) on the drug-addled streets of West Baltimore. The series is preoccupied with depicting the impact of the city's drug culture on a personal level for one unlucky family. The use of flashbacks and the opportunity for viewers to pose the question "What If?" depicts how Gary and Fran's few bad choices wrecked their lives. DeAndre, burdened by his parents' decisions, works on the streets before succumbing to heroin addiction. Each episode is characterized by a docudrama interview in which show maker Charles S Dutton asks probing questions of one of the participants. While still at odds with the overall realistic tone, these conversations provide valuable insight into the individuals' difficulties. This program is praised for its uncompromising realism, theatrics, and intertextuality, in which it humanizes drug users by utilizing emotion as a key component of its appeal and political reasoning.

Figure 2 - The poster from “The Corner”. Source - Google

When They See Us

Ava DuVerney directed and co-wrote this four-part Netflix mini-series on the Central Park Five's injustice. At its heart, the title ensures that the five teenage boys, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise, are identifiable by their names rather than mythical monsters. The four Black boys and one Latino youngster were in the wrong location at the wrong time. On the night of April 19, 1989, a female jogger named Trisha Meili was attacked, raped, and left for dead in Central Park. The show recounts the historic travesty of justice and the children's broken lives through its visual splendor, while America crystallizes in the figure of Donald Trump, who in May 1989 took on a full page of newspaper ad protesting for the execution of these five children, since it was easy for the mainstream press in those days to paint a group of Black and Brown teenager boys as predatory animals and this show showcased that perception. In the end, DuVernay's show inspires people to understand that crime control tactics, as well as the racial attitudes that underpin them, must change.

Figure 3 - The poster from “When They See Us”. Source - Google


Atlanta, Donald Glover's artisan dramedy, thrives solely on its artistic grounds, relying on a fragmented, slice-of-life storytelling style and the creator's unique perspectives on the world. While keeping the storyline of race and its consequences omnipresent, the series has become TV's most constant representation of experimental film methods. The narrative revolves around Earnest "Earn" Marks (Donald Glover), a Princeton dropout who returns to his hometown of Atlanta to live with his family. After making several poor decisions that cause Earn to be separated from his family, he is eventually allowed to manage his cousin Paper Boi's (Brian Tyree Henry) musical career, which comes with its own set of challenges. What distinguishes this show is Earn's unabashed knowledge of himself in the White world, where unfairness and hazards abound, which are either extremely subtle or completely direct. Each episode exudes genuineness, roughness, quirkiness, absurdity, and tragedy, all while being peppered with sharp jokes, intellectual observations, pop culture allusions, and post-modern criticism free of cliches and formulas.

Figure 4 - The poster from  “Atlanta”. Source - Google

Random Acts of Flyness

We completely agree that this show is a purposeful response to the modern American mediascape, with fluidity at its center. Terence Nance's absurdist shapeshifting show combines found film, reenacted conversations through stop motion animation, sarcastic sketches, and gorgeous cinematography to make its White audience know what it takes to be Black in America. Without being overly dogmatic, the show allows race to breathe and explore itself outside of the backdrop of who is oppressing it. Whilst the collage appears chaotic, the selection of randomness is precisely organized and meant to challenge and compel its audience to pay attention. In oneness, the show's contemporary methodology for discussing problems such as bisexuality in the Black community, racial concerns in America, blackface (wearing makeup to imitate the appearance of a Black person by White People), and so on is simply to disrupt and re-disrupt conceptions so that the viewing public can finally see them for what they are.

Figure 5 - The poster from “Random Act of Flyness”. Source - Google


 Anand Subramanian is a freelance photographer and content writer based out of Tamil Nadu, India. Having a background in Engineering always made him curious about life on the other side of the spectrum. He leapt forward towards the Photography life and never looked back. Specializing in Documentary and  Portrait photography gave him an up-close and personal view into the complexities of human beings and those experiences helped him branch out from visual to words. Today he is mentoring passionate photographers and writing about the different dimensions of the art world.

Read more from Anand Subramanian:

Chess and Its Cinematic Influence Fresh and Queen of Katwe Movies Reviews

Chess and Its Cinematic Influence: “Fresh” and “Queen of Katwe” Movies Reviews

While we celebrate World Chess Day by making the proper moves on the board, we will discuss two visually compelling films - Queen of Katwe and Fresh - both of which construct an inspiring... Read More » 


Figure 1 - Dev Shah Aziz Ansari from Master of None Source - Google

‘Master of None’ - Netflix Series Analysis

This Netflix comedy series was co-created by Parks and Recreation veterans Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang and centers on an actor's journey through career, family, love, friendship, and the fi... Read More » 


Figure 1 - DrK and Jack Pearson Source - Google Images

What 'This Is Us' Taught Me About Masculinity and Fatherhood

Every fan has said, "This show makes me ugly cry" but we are not going to talk about how every scene of this masterpiece can make your eyes wet. Instead, let’s discuss how this show repre... Read More »