If there’s one thing that endlessly provides many of us with a much-needed escape from reality, it’s great tv shows. They take viewers along on entertaining and captivating journeys while eliciting a number of feelings and emotions in us. They provide us with the opportunities to immerse ourselves into alternate worlds and realities and connect with people through our shared love for tv and the themes and conversations that surround them.
As a black woman, good quality tv, centred on black women, our lives and our collective interests and issues have a special place in my heart. There tends to be this universal realness that comes with shows like these and they foster a sense of togetherness as our lives and experiences are reflected through stories that remind us that we’re not alone in this journey called life. And a number of talented black women have created just what we need to escape and find solace in.
Here are five great tv shows by black women you should tune in to, if you haven’t already!
Skinny Girl In Transit – Temilola Akinmuda
Created by media personality and producer, Temilola Akinmuda, Skinny Girl In Transit follows the journey of a plus-sized young Nigerian woman, Tiwa as she struggles with the challenges of keeping up with conventional standards of beauty, experiences relationships and learns to deal with an overbearing mother who has her own views on how Tiwa’s life should be. A refreshingly lighthearted, relatable and enthralling show, it has remained a favourite of Nigerians since it began in 2015, racking up views in the millions and it’s definitely not difficult to see why it’s done so well.
Insecure – Issa Rae
If it wasn’t obvious after reading this essay on friendships and taking space, I’m an avid viewer and lover of one of the best tv shows ever created (and I will argue this anywhere so feel free to quote me on it). Birthed by actor, writer and producer, Issa Rae, and set in Los Angeles, California, Insecure traverses continental boundaries as it depicts real life situations and experiences that black women worldwide, myself included, can wholeheartedly relate to. It has consistently brought viewers together through impactful stories and meaningful conversations in a way that a lot of other shows struggle to do.
I May Destroy You – Michaela Coel
One of the most acclaimed tv shows right now and for good reason, I May Destroy You was created by British actor, writer and executive producer, Michaela Coel. Inspired by her real life experience with sexual violence, this series delves into sexual assault, rape and Arabella’s journey as she comes to terms with her traumatic experience with the help of her friends who also embark on their own paths to self-healing. The show goes further to highlight topics that are not always touched on in mainstream tv such as sexual coercion and deceit which create a wider conversation on consent. This and Arabella’s quick-wittedness and the seamless way it blends with the intensity of the story makes this series one to watch.
Jenifa’s Diary – Funke Akindele Bello
Photo: Dstv NG
The brainchild of Nollywood veteran, Funke Akindele Bello, who seems to have long mastered the art of comedy, Jenifa’s Diary has enjoyed quite the run since its conception in 2015, totalling 20 seasons till date. Coming on the heels of the critically acclaimed films, Jenifa and its sequel, The Return of Jenifa, this show draws us into a world of unbridled amusement and never ending journeys as we’re taken on a ride with Jenifa who leaves her hometown for the big city to start a new life. As she goes through life, she meets a number of interesting characters along the way who influence her in more ways than one.
Girlfriends – Mara Brock Akil
Photo: UPN 30
A throwback gem, Girlfriends is the quintessential black sisterhood tv show about four young women Joan, Maya, Toni and Lynn who navigate life, love and the world at large. Created by screenwriter and tv producer, Mara Brock Akil, this show explored the stories and peculiarities of African-American women in an authentic but lighthearted way, bringing black women from all walks of life together. And it unsurprisingly amassed a huge following throughout 8 seasons till its untimely end in 2008. It may long be over now but it’s one timeless piece of black girl tv fans like myself will always hold dear to our hearts.
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