Written by Jefferey Spivey (of Uptown Bourgeois)
The fall TV season was dominated by an influx of fresh black voices. From Donald Glover’s quirky FX hit Atlanta to Ava DuVernay’s gorgeous family drama Queen Sugar, it was clear that fall 2016 would be remembered for its wide embrace of diversity. Issa Rae, former film student and digital content creator extraordinaire, landed a huge hit in HBO’s Insecure. The hilarious and realistic examination of black female friendship and dating trials resonated with viewers in a big way. HBO is already moving forward with a second season, and Issa Rae is becoming a household name. Season one ended on a painful cliffhanger that has everyone speculating about lead character Issa Dee’s future. If you can’t wait until 2017 for the next installment, these web series should tide you over.
If you can’t get enough of Issa Rae’s intimate look at black life in Los Angeles, take a trip back in time to Insecure’s source material, Awkward Black Girl. All the familiar aspects are there: reflective moments in the bathroom mirror, rap freestyles to cope with love troubles, socially awkward encounters with co-workers-check. The wildly popular YouTube series helped Rae land her gig at HBO. The show has an unmistakably clear point of view, and you’ll find yourself binge watching both seasons in no time.
Dating is difficult for all of us, but for young filmmaker Sonny Richard, it’s especially hard. The newly single auteur tries to navigate the dating world and see through the facades to get to know new women. Having to rely on his own intuition, modern dating seems more like a minefield than a fun time. The show’s gorgeous production value and comedic narration make it a must-watch web series.
For four seasons, Dear Jesus has invited viewers into the life of Mercedes, a young British journalist who writes letters to Jesus as a means of processing all that’s right (and wrong) in her life. The show hasn’t just captivated YouTubers. It was also nominated for the Screen Nation Digital Award and has been praised for shining light on a unique aspect of the black experience.
Mia is a driven woman who lives her life according to strict timelines. She’s always known that marriage and family were in the cards and that she’d have it all before she was 30. But to make that dream a reality, she overlooked some big warning signs in her relationship. Fried Eggs follows her journey as she adjusts her timeline and searches for new love.
Black Actress, one of the series included under Issa Rae’s production umbrella, follows the story of Kori as she jumps back into the auditioning process after a hiatus. Hollywood is a tough place to succeed and Kori experiences why firsthand. The story is compelling on its own, but it’s further enhanced by testimonials from popular black actresses like Naturi Naughton and Tatyana Ali.
We all know the trials and tribulations of being the only black employee at the office. The Unwritten Rules takes viewers into the daily challenges of being the only face of color in a homogenous office. The subject matter is all too relevant given the political climate of 2016. The comedy is sharp and stinging but resonates long after you log off.
Other web series you should watch: