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Where Are the Black Sitcoms?

Hello Business Athlete readers! We have a question for you - do you feel like there are no Black sitcoms anymore?

The other day I was scrolling through Netflix with my sister, and she said something I haven’t really thought of. We were aimlessly trying to find something to watch and she goes “I wish we still had Black Sitcoms”. I didn’t respond for a second because I never really thought about it. I watch TV regularly and I thought I could name a few Black Sitcoms, but she begged to differ. She is a 90’s baby at heart, born in 1990 and her idea of Black sitcoms are shows like Girlfriends, Moesha, One on One, Living Single, Fresh Prince, The Parkers and the list goes on.

I argued that we do have Black sitcoms. I for one watch shows like, Blackish, The Wonder Years, Insecure, The Upshaws and A Black Lady Sketch show, but she said they didn’t capture the essence of the 90’s-2000’s era sitcoms.

Her argument was that 90s and 2000’s sitcoms were groundbreaking for their time - they told the untold stories of Black people in America, and they capture the essence, vibe, and dope-ness of just being Black. They highlighted the hype of our fashion, music, and culture and presented it on screen with episodes that narrated the Black experience playfully and perfectly. She described this as television highlighting the Black experience for what it was before being Black was popular. She described those shows as being for Black viewers, who only knew how to be Black.

She described the problem with modern Black Sitcoms as that now, it’s cool to be Black. Our fashion, music, art, and even experience are in every television show, and related to every character, whether they’re Black or not. While this can be a good thing, because barriers are being broken down, she said it takes away from the authenticity and special relation to the show. When you flip on a show, and every character regardless of race, has braids (that were once used to make fun of Black Women), and clothing that was considered cool in Black communities but rowdy in outside spaces, but now is the crux of fashion for designers, it makes you feel like it’s no longer special. She personally related to 90’s and early 2000’s sitcoms, because this was at a time when being Black wasn’t a fad, but who you were. And you got to see your life play out on screen.

While I was born a few years after her, I have an entirely different experience with this. I think there are great current Black Sitcoms out there that capture the Black experience beautifully. For one, I love the show Insecure. It captures the essence of being a Black woman, friend, and person, in THIS era. While I do love a nostalgic walk down memory lane with older sitcoms, times change, and so do storytelling styles. I think that both can be considered Black Sitcoms, just told from a different perspective.

As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

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