There’s no disputing the abundance of Black excellence on TV these days, which is very comforting considering the gap that once existed once the golden era of ‘90s Black TV was over. Now you have your pick of so many outstanding shows that are led by Black casts, created/written/produced by Black people or a combination of both. It may be hard to fathom now, but just try to imagine your TV line-up without the likes of “Scandal,” “Empire,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Black-ish,” “Queen Sugar,” “Greenleaf,” “Power,” “Insecure,” “Atlanta,” etc.
Nevertheless, even with so much greatness currently existing on broadcast television, there’s just as much amazing content that lives online. All you have to do is a quick YouTube search and you’ll come upon dozens of Black web series’ producing thought-provoking, boundary-pushing content featuring Black actors telling our stories in a way that perhaps TV isn’t ready to. So to make your job easier, #TeamBeautiful compiled a binge-worthy list because summer TV generally sucks.
Sexless – Chances are if you consider yourself a web series connoisseur, then you already know about Black & Sexy TV, a web platform that originally began on YouTube over five years ago, but has since graduated to a streaming service. Black & Sexy TV produces several Black web series and one standout “Sexless,” is about four friends who are “sexless” in various ways, through differing circumstances. Currently in its 3rd season, the show is a funny, realistic portrayal of how sex (or lack thereof) complicates relationships, but also empowers.
Chef Julian – This show is a spinoff of “Sexless,” but it’s even sexier, funnier and more outrageous than its predecessor. “Chef Julian” centers on sexy ladies’ man Julian, who considers himself somewhat of an expert in the kitchen…especially when he’s making meals after putting it down in the bedroom. Just in time for some steamy summer antics, the 3rd season returns this month with enough drama and eye candy to last all season.
Tough Love – After recently wrapping up its 2nd season, popular relationship drama “Tough Love” found itself nominated for a Daytime Emmy this year, which is a testament to just how good it is. Taking place in NYC, it surrounds a group of friends dealing with everything from relationship drama and family discord to work obstacles and more. It currently thrives on YouTube, but a paid subscription service could be on the horizon.
Giants – Issa Rae is one of the best “YouTube-to-TV” success stories, as her first web series “The MisAdventures of Awkward Black Girl” served as the basis for her current HBO hit show “Insecure.” She may be on TV now, but she still operates her YouTube channel where she produces original content and spotlights other creatives. One of the newest series to land on the Issa Rae YouTube channel is the thought-provoking “Giants.” It’s about three millennial friends trying to find their way in this thing called life. The series deals with serious issues young blacks face, such as black mental health and black homosexuality.
Get Your Life – Actress/comedian Amanda Seales may be currently co-starring on HBO’s “Insecure” as Issa’s bougie friend Tiffany DuBois, but she also has a hilariously funny web series titled “Get Your Life” exclusively broadcast on Blavity. The series, now in its 2nd season, is loosely based on Seales’ own experiences as a comedian. If you love ‘90s nostalgia and seeing some of the hot topics and pop culture issues parodied, this is definitely for you.
Makeup x Breakup – The name perfectly describes this web series that centers on the ups, downs and messiness that centers on a group of New Yorker’s as they deal with new loves, broken hearts, betrayals and shattered promises. With only one season under its belt, “Makeup x Breakup” already has a devoted fan base. An added bonus is the gorgeous cinematography that beautifully captures the city in all its glory.
Brown Girls – LGBT women of color are often underrepresented on broadcast television, which is why critically acclaimed series “Brown Girls” fills a much-needed void and feels right on time. It’s about two friends, both young women of color. One is a South Asian-American writer newly owning her lesbian lifestyle, while the other is a heterosexual, sex-positive Black musician who struggles with her job, art and relationships.
No Love Lost – What happens when a relationship is over, but the love is still there? That’s just one of the burning questions that is posed in “No Love Lost.” This isn’t just about how to get over a failed relationship, but instead it centers on the breakdown of a marriage and how difficult it can be to move on emotionally, financially and physically. Season 1 ended with such a jaw-dropping cliff-hanger that fans are on the edge of their seats for season 2.
Side Chick – Before you look at the title and roll your eyes…don’t. Instead give this web series a chance because yes, while it does focus on being the side chick in a relationship, it doesn’t glorify it. “Side Chick” actually serves as somewhat of a cautionary tale about what can happen when you are naïve, gullible and ultimately emotionally attached to the wrong man. The drama in season 1 was through the roof, which means the future 2nd season will be a worthwhile addition to your viewing playlist.