If you know me, you know I LOVE everything about black television and movies! From the lowest budget to big box office productions, if it is starring, produced, directed, owned, or operated by someone black; I am for it! So it should be no surprised when I SCREAMED in my office over the announcement of Moesha, The Game, Sister, Sister, Girlfriends, The Parkers, Half & Half, and One on One would be coming to Netflix! The announcement was also delivered with an amazing video featuring some of our favorite stars from the shows joining in on our excitement and reminiscing on their favorite episodes and moments. And while we have seen an increase desire for black stories, it is rare to see this many shows especially black centered ones, adopted at one time. So in other words, THIS! IS! BIG!
Black focused sitcoms were popular in the late 90's to the early 2000's but faded out quickly for various reasons. Now don’t get me wrong, we love our shows like Insecure, Boomerang, and sometimes Black-ish but since then black shows have become almost non-existing and when we do get them they are overly saturated with sex, stereotypes, colorism, racial and/or emotional trauma, and are rarely family orientated. And on major streaming giants like Netflix, if the show isn’t black based which most are not, black actors and actresses are put in the cycle of political and/or racial tokenism characters.
So why are we excited about these shows, because “REPRESENTATION MATTERS”! Since the protest steaming from the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, there has been a surge on major streaming platforms promoting black stories and experiences; and although appreciated, the renewed focus for black content shouldn’t only be sparked by tragic events but because it is needed and necessary! From blended families to adopted children, single fathers and successful women, these classic black sitcoms set the tone for displaying the wide range of black people's stories and experiences. Additionally, during the height of these black sitcoms we could always expect to see all types of celebrities like Kobe Bryant, Brian McKnight, and Steve Harvey making guest appearances as themselves or characters. OHHH and lets not forget the theme songs as well as the expression of our culture through wardrobe and style; if you couldn’t tell, the 90's TV was a vibe!
Yes, Beyoncé just gave us “Black is King” and we are still overjoyed about “Black Panther” but again, these cannot be the only times we see multiple black people on screen. Moesha starred a dark skinned black woman from a two parent blended household, while The Parkers frontrunners were two plus-sized black women. On One on One we witnessed a single black father raising his teenage daughter, a story we don’t hear or see often, while Sister, Sister celebrated the importance and impact of adoption, the college experience, and black Greek letter organizations like Delta Sigma Theta and Alpha Kappa Alpha. Girlfriends and Half and Half, highlighted successful black women navigating relationships, mental health, and my personal favorite, ripping up that life list! Better known as starting over because things did not go according to plan...
Although these shows may be “old”, what they did was showcase Black people’s range in melanin, shapes, sizes, economic status, sexuality, and most importantly beyond stereotypically storylines; not to mention, most of these shows were directed, written, and produced by black people too. My hope is with them readily available at our fingertips, streaming giants like Netflix, Hulu, and other production companies follow their blueprint when it comes to delivering black focused content.
Moesha and The Game seasons 1-3 are now streaming! Sister, Sister will become available September 1, Girlfriends September 11th, The Parkers, October 1st, and both Half & Half and One on One on October October 15th. Additional shows like Smart Guy, Living Single, and A Different World can be streamed on Hulu, Disney+, and Prime Video.
Lastly, I want to remind you all that C-19(as my mother calls it lol) is still real! So wear your mask, register to vote, and call up Kentucky and tell them to arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor!
Peace & Love...