Black TV is having a moment and it’s a good one. Three shows featuring prominent Black casts were renewed this week, joining shows like Queen Sugar and Greenleaf, that have already made their announcements. HBO renewed both Insecure and Ballers starring Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji and Jay Ellis, and Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson and John David Washington respectively. FX renewed John Singleton’s drug drama Snowfall about the origins of the crack epidemic.
“We’re thrilled that the summer lineup of Ballers and Insecure connected with our viewers out of the gate. We’re so proud to work with Dwayne, Issa and all of the amazing talent in both shows,” said Amy Gravitt, executive vice president, HBO Programming.
Atlanta on FX, Survivors Remorse on Starz and Greenleaf will all start up new seasons soon, Being Mary Jane and Power are winding down their seasons, while How To Get Away With Murder, Scandal and Empire are back in the fall, along with the second half of the second season of Queen Sugar.
The first season of She’s Gotta Have It, the second season of Luke Cage and the second season of Dear White People will be heading back to Netflix, along with a Central Park Five mini-series helmed by Ava Duvernay.
Hollywood seems to be evolving for the better in the way it constructs and markets black TV series, and many are taking notice. For Vulture, Dee Lockett wrote, “It’s no coincidence that one of television’s best years was also the year it got noticeably blacker.” Likewise, CNN, Shadow and Act, and MTV News discussed the uptick in diversity in front of and behind the camera to the point that 2016 could be considered a new golden age for black television. But in 2017, the conversation moving forward will be about whether last year was the start of a revolution that will continue to normalize black stories on TV, or whether it was simply another trend that will fizzle out, as the industry saw in the 1990s and early aughts. (The 1970s, too, had many black-led series like Good Times before subsequent decades backtracked on that progress.) In order to secure lasting change, the industry needs to understand why exactly 2016 was so remarkable for black representation and what’s still missing.
Even with that being said, it’s a pretty good time to be a Black actor/producer/showrunner/writer/viewer right now. Don’t you think?
Which shows will you be watching? Comment below