From real life dramas to the black college experience and all the way into the land of fantasy, black television is steadily soaring and giving us life! For years we have tuned in week after week to catch some of our favorite shows inspire, entertain and educate the world on the multifaceted lives of black people in America. These shows no longer put us in a box and allow Black Girl Magic and Black Boy Joy to run freely in the fields of melanin bliss. As the torch continues to be passed, we must recognize the current programming of one sophomore and two freshmen shows that are the epitome of Black Excellence: The Quad, The Chi and Black Lightning.
The Quad, BET’s HBCU drama created by Felicia D. Henderson and Charles Holland, starring the multi-gifted Anika Noni Rose brings nostalgia to all of us HBCU Grads watching. No, we are not in the comparison game of putting it up against ‘A Different World.’ We just appreciate great television with incredible directing, writing and acting that showcases our stories told by us. The tea in this show will have you sipping your life away every Tuesday night. Queen Anika is reigning supreme on the campus of GAMU and is unapologetic every step of the way. We salute the creators, the stars and the network for bringing this show into our homes each week.
The Chi, Showtime’s newest drama created by the award winning, history making Lena Waithe, set in the South Side of Chicago brings authenticity to the complex lives of black people in that part of the city. The eye opening, attention grabbing and gut punching premiere took the country by storm. We fell in love with each character, cringed at the outcome of the slightest bad decision and held our breath for seven whole days until it returned. America now gets to see the human side of Chicagoans told by a Chicagoan. We appreciate all that Queen Lena has so graciously given us and cannot wait to see more from this talented human.
Black Lightning! Black Lightning! Black Lightning! I was hoping he would appear after the third time to help because Flint, MI still does not have clean water nor is real justice being served for unarmed blacks being killed at the hand of police. Looks like we will just have to tune in every Tuesday night on The CW to catch this action-packed, black love showing, education advocating and justice wielding superhero played by Cress Williams. None other than Hollywood’s super duo, Salim and Mara Brock Akil, whose resumes are nothing short of black excellence, co-created this diamond mine of a show. Salim and Mara, I just need a chance to audition! That is all I ask. What you two bring to the screen is nothing like I have seen before and seeing how strong the ratings have been; it is evident I am not alone. I salute you, King Salim and Queen Mara.
What a time to be alive! This is all thanks to the creative and truthful voices continuing to tell our stories. Representation matters. When children of color can see themselves depicted as strong, intelligent and beautiful in the media, they believe that they too encompass all of those qualities. Let’s continue to celebrate this time of Black Excellence in television.