With over 1,500 television shows on Netflix, finding a show you love that celebrates diversity is a treacherous task. Below is a hand-picked selection of quality Netflix original TV shows starring women of color.
What shows are you currently binge-watching on Netflix?
Despite the diversity in television being on the rise, it’s not nearly representative of our beautifully diverse society, as revealed in a TV Time study. Finding representation of women of color as more than the best friend or background character requires a lot of hard work.
Today, I’m here to do the work for you. I have searched through Netflix’s extensive catalog to give you ten great TV shows starring women of color.
Enjoy the hand-picked list below and happy binge-watching!
And if you need something to help channel your inner superstar, don’t forget to also check out our list of famous movie quotes from your favorite characters.
1. Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show
Netflix comedy TV show Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show explores the black experience through the lens of absurdly brilliant humor. It features The Astronomy Club, the first and only all-black performance team of the nationwide comedy troupe the Upright Citizens Brigade. The team has birthed a variety of prominent comedians, including Amy Poehler and Ilana Glazer.
With sketches about topics like the celebration of ‘Ice Cube Day’ to a support group for magical negroes, Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show is In Living Color for a new generation, with humor that is just as culturally-relevant.
2. Family Reunion
Starring actress Tia Mowry as Cocoa, Family Reunion tells the tale of a large family moving from Seattle, Washington to Columbus, Georgia to be around family. Family Reunion is one of few currently airing family sitcoms to feature an all-black cast, joining ABC’s Black-ish.
Family Reunion discusses light-hearted topics, like childhood crushes, to more serious topics, like religion. Family Reunion is the type of show the whole family can watch together, starting important conversations that may not have happened otherwise.
3. One Day at a Time
One Day at a Time, starring Justina Machado, centers around the lives of a Cuban-American family living in a suburban county of Los Angeles. The show is a reimagining of the 1975 series of the same name. Like its predecessor, it doesn’t shy away from real-life issues including homophobia, mental illness, and immigration.
The show features three-dimensional characters that are a reflection of its audience. Like Family Reunion, One Day at a Time would be a perfect addition to your next family Netflix night. Although the fourth season of One Day at a Time will be released by CBS’ Pop TV, there are three seasons of love, laughs, and culture you can enjoy on Netflix right now. ‘
4. Good Morning Call
Based on the best-selling manga, Good Morning Call tells the story of a high school girl, Nao, who ends up accidentally becoming roommates with Hisashi, one of the most popular boys in school. The show is a light-hearted teen drama showing the lives and relationships of the two main characters, Nao and Hisashi.
Netflix has a large selection of awesome Japanese dramas, with Good Morning Call shining brightly because of its relatable, awkward approach to humor. It’s an easily binge-able TV show for all audiences to relate to, whether they are high school-aged or a kid at heart.
5. She’s Gotta Have It
In this re-imagining of Spike Lee’s award-winning film, She’s Gotta Have It, Nola Darling (played by DeWanda Wise) navigates her life as an artist in modern Brooklyn. The show isn’t afraid to discuss topics like politics, gentrification, and sexuality.
At its core, She’s Gotta Have It is a tale about self-acceptance and self-love, which is universally relatable. Even in 2020, it is very difficult to find black women portrayed on television as open, honest, and multifaceted as Nola Darling. With culturally relevant humor and unashamed realness at every turn, She’s Gotta Have It is a must-watch.
More Netflix shows that celebrates diversity
6. The Umbrella Academy
Based on the Gerald Way-comic book series of the same name, The Umbrella Academy tells the tale of a group of adopted superhero siblings who are investigating the case of their father’s death. The show features a large and diverse ensemble cast including actress Emmy Raver-Lampman, a member of the previously mentioned superhero family, and Mary J. Blige, an assassin.
With fantasy and science fiction forms of media lacking people of color, The Umbrella Academy is a breath of fresh air through their diverse casting alone. The imaginative storytelling and awe-inspiring special effects make this a series you need to have in your queue.
7. Dear White People
Following the lives of black Ivy League students, Dear White People is based on the 2014 film of the same name. Dear White People centers around race-related issues experienced at many different colleges and universities around the globe, but are often swept under the rug.
The sheer concept, black students at an ivy league school, is rarely ever portrayed on television or film. The series can be a source of inspiration for high school students who are considering the next stage of their education or college students who are looking for characters with struggles they can relate to.
8. On My Block
On My Block is a teen drama about a group of inner-city kids, living in a predominantly African-American and Latinx Los Angeles neighborhood. The diverse and talented main cast includes a captivating performance by 21-year-old Sierra Capri as Monse, the Afro-Latina leader of her small group of friends. On My Block embraces diversity in a believable way that is lacking in modern teen television shows.
Its storylines tackle real teen issues, such as social isolation and managing friendship, while interweaving events of racism and violence. On My Block encompasses the day-to-day struggles of many children across America. In this Netflix original, these children can finally see themselves reflected in leading roles instead of hiding in the background or as the funny sidekick.
9. Chewing Gum
Starring the hysterical Michaela Coel, Chewing Gum is a British-comedy centered around a young business assistant as she explores her sexuality and sense of self. Chewing Gum is what every great comedy show should be, equal parts real and hilarious. It explores the many realms of the black experience and reminds audiences that it’s okay to be awkward; it’s okay to be unaware.
Along with being beloved by fans, Chewing Gum has reached immense critical acclaim. In 2016, Coel won a BAFTA for Best Female Comedy Performance for her starring role in Chewing Gum. Sadly, after being canceled by Netflix in 2017, there will only ever be two seasons on Netflix. But thankfully, as a Netflix original, it will always be there whenever you need a good laugh.
10. Tuca & Bertie
Tuca & Bertie is a hilariously real, raw, and wonderful celebration of womanhood. Starring comedians Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong, Tuca & Bertie is an adult animated series about the friendship of a songbird and a toucan living in the same apartment building.
It’s a surreal, gut-busting, playful series that keeps it just as real as the group chat between you and your closest girlfriends. Tuca & Bertie is an on-the-nose millennial woman-centered comedy that deserves a spot in your weekly streaming routine.
Which of these Netflix shows are you going to add to your queue?
Whether you’re looking for a family-oriented sitcom or an adult animation about two bird/women hybrids living in the same apartment complex, the list above gives ten solid recommendations starring talented women of color. Depending on your experiences and background, there’s bound to be at least one title above that will feel like looking straight into a mirror.
What shows are you currently binge-watching on Netflix? What kind of content are you looking for, but can’t seem to find? Let us know your thoughts; we would love to read them.