(The Root) — Throughout the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s, TV series like The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Living Single and Girlfriend pervaded the African-American psyche with humorous, positive and insightful representations of black people. For many, today’s television is hardly the place to look for fresh and unique black shows. But if you’re looking for the latest and greatest in black series, there’s little need to fret.
Over the past couple of years, the Internet has become a breeding ground for new and novel black talent, allowing them to put their acting chops and expertise to the test with fun and conscientious original Web series. From a hilarious mockery of today’s “diva-licious” black culture to a witty critique of “being a black face in a white place,” the world of black Web series offers an eclectic bag of goodies.
The Root scoured cyberspace for some of the Web’s must-see black series. Here are some irresistible and noteworthy options for your viewing entertainment.
Issa Rae’s The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl gathered quite the following during its first season, with its lighthearted and genuine depiction of the everyday black female. But Awkward Black Girl is much more than an antidote to grandiose representations of black women. The Web series delivers in the comedy department with topical situational humor that almost any black woman can relate to.
Camp, swim, do yoga? Familiar with that mysterious yet lengthy list of things black people don’t do? Well, Black Public Media’s Black Folk Don’t puts a satirical and cultural spin on the bevy of activities that black folk just don’t do. Comedian Baratunde Thurston and news analyst Melissa Harris-Perry are just a couple of notable voices that help answer questions like, “Are black folk less likely to want to downward-dog than other folk?” and “When was the last time you met a black atheist?” The popular Web series, which just kicked off its second season, offers a flavorful and intelligent inquiry into the oft-heard expression “black folk don’t.”
Four male friends take on love, life, sex and friendship in Brothers With No Game. The unfiltered dialogue on women and romance, previously relegated to the confines of a London living room, sets the stage for comedic stories that address the entertaining complexities of the black male psyche. If you fancy some solid British humor wrapped up in a bit of romantic wit, Brothers With No Game is a perfect choice.
Dear White People follows the tales of four black students recently enrolled in a fictitious Ivy League university, using satirical situations to shed light on just what it means to be black in today’s “postracial” America. As part of the project to produce an indie film based on the concept, which has already garnered more than $40,000 in grassroots support as well as exposure on CNN, a trailer was recently released that showcases the laughs-driven, yet illuminating paradox of being black in a white world.
From Mariah to Bey, Aretha to Patti, and pretty much every diva in between, Got 2B Real exposes the absurdity of the diva world with hypnotizing hilarity. YouTube’s LaBelleOfTheBall2 lends a comedic voice to some of our favorite divas — literally dubbing footage of them with trash-talking dialogue and priceless jabs. Got 2B Real is perfect for endless hours of addictive entertainment. But be forewarned: You may not be able to turn away.
The Harlow Project‘s In(HER)view Web series comprises a set of eight interviews with a diverse mix of black women, who delve into the topics of black female identity and empowerment. In each biweekly interview, five black women, including the National Black Justice Coalition‘s Kimberley McLeod and Bklyn Boihood co-founder Genesis Tramaine, are asked a question about life as a black woman and many of the challenges they face in today’s society.
Turning 30 is hardly what it used to be, and The New Twenties offers a look inside the lives of six friends whose triumphs and challenges offer an authentic look at what it really means to live in the real world. The five-minute Web dramedy features an impressive cast, including Sharif Atkins, Erin Wiley and April Parker Jones.
Joshua R. Weaver is The Root‘s editorial assistant.