There’s no shortage of good-quality entertainment when it comes to TV shows. The characters are fascinating, the level of drama is mind-boggling, and the writers know exactly how to keep us hungry for more after each episode. …But there’s just one problem. You see, about ninety percent of these shows feature an entirely white cast, and it’s kind of problematic because these shows are simply ignoring the fact that people of other races actually exist.
Thankfully, we’ve been blessed with quite a few shows recently that actually bring minorities to the forefront (and no, it does not count if there’s one token person of color in a sea of white faces). We are finally starting to see more fictional characters and families that reflect how unique and diverse we all are. And honestly, it is so refreshing.
The show follows a quirky, well-off black family that lives in a predominantly white neighborhood. Andre and Rainbow Johnson try to teach their family to be proud of their blackness while tackling issues like religion, racism, and homosexuality. What makes the show so special, though, is that the Johnsons are extremely relatable. They’re flawed and sometimes crazy, but they own it. And of course, they’re always there for each other. #FamilyGoals.
We see the story of Harlem’s prized superhero, Luke Cage, who escapes from prison and starts to protect the town from dangerous new threats. Since Luke is bulletproof (well, for the most part), he never hesitates to intervene when it comes to fights and people committing crimes. It all takes place in a setting that’s heavily populated with blacks and Latinos, which is a pretty accurate representation of the real Harlem. (Could you imagine how cool it would be if the real town had its own Luke Cage??)
James St. Patrick, also known as “Ghost,” is struggling to balance his life as a nightclub owner with his private criminal life as a successful drug dealer. He makes the decision to leave the drug ring and focus on his club, but it proves to be a challenge and his family unit quickly starts to fall apart.
The premise is quite engaging but if you asked us, we’d say that the show’s diversity is one of the main reasons for its huge success. We’ve been introduced to so many characters from different backgrounds and it makes the show all the more relatable.
Lucious Lyon, aka the CEO of Empire Entertainment, is diagnosed with ALS and he suffers the loss of a close associate. What’s even worse is that his past life as a drug dealer begins to catch up with him, and his ex-wife, Cookie (who recently got out of prison), is looking to snatch his company away from him. As a result, Lucious begins to prepare his sons so that one of them can take his place – and in the process, he pits the boys against each other. So much drama!
Orange is the New Black
Piper gets locked up for a crime that she committed over a decade ago. She goes to a women’s federal prison, where we get an inside look at just how corrupt the prison system is. The show also tackles a variety of social issues and controversial topics, like racism, mental health, and the LGBTQ+ community. Although the main character is white, her fellow inmates are so ethnically diverse, and it’s fascinating to see how they all deal with these differences.
The Mayor is a sitcom that follows a young aspiring rapper, Courtney Rose, who becomes the mayor of his town after joining the race to gain some publicity. He manages to win because of one successful debate, though in reality, he has zero experience. Fortunately, with the help of his mom, his best friends, and his chief of staff, he’s slowly getting the hang of it.
This is perhaps one of the most underrated shows that’s on the air right now because it’s genuinely funny and it portrays young, ambitious black men in the world of politics. We don’t know about you guys, but we don’t recall seeing anything like that on TV before.
The musical drama focuses on the journey of a talented girl group in Atlanta. They call themselves “Take 3” and they work extremely hard to make it in the music industry. But on top of that, they have to deal with their personal issues and family drama. The trio of girls is quite diverse, much like the rest of the cast. Gotta give major props to their casting department!
In this series, we get to know three siblings: Nova, a journalist in New Orleans, Charley, a sports manager and mother, and Ralph, a single dad who’s struggling to land a job and support his child. They decide to come together to take care of their late father’s sugarcane farm in Louisiana. The story is based on a book of the same name and in other awesome news, the show has an all-female directorial team! Rare.
Fresh Off the Boat
Does anyone else find it kind of insane that this is the first American TV sitcom that stars an Asian-American family since 1994? Talk about being long overdue…
But in this series, we’re introduced to a Chinese family that moves to Florida in order to open a steak restaurant. But they’re finding it difficult to assimilate into a new and more diverse community, mainly due to cultural differences. It is so refreshing to have a show that helps us all understand the immigrant experience, and in a way that’s hilarious and heartfelt.
The show tells about a diverse group of eight strangers (they all come from different parts of the world and have different cultures) who cross paths when they find out that they are all linked through a psychic connection. They begin referring to themselves as “sensates,” humans who are mentally and emotionally linked.
This is one of the most fascinating TV shows ever, which made it totally crazy when Netflix canceled it way too soon.
How to Get Away With Murder
Annalise Keating, a brilliant law professor, takes five of her best students under her wing and lets them work as employees at her firm. But over the course of the show, the group gets a little too involved in messy murder incidents and cases. It’s like the drama increases tenfold with each following episode, so we can’t help but get addicted. With Viola Davis as the lead, the fact that Annalise and her team are so diverse is a major plus.
Being Mary Jane
Mary Jane Paul, a successful news anchor, is killing it in her career. She’s self-sufficient, driven, and she seems to have it all – but the same doesn’t ring true when it comes to her personal life. We see her try to juggle her job with her family problems, romantic relationships, and other personal issues. It all feels so relatable, which is why we’re SO sad that the series will be ending in 2018.
Earn Marks, a homeless college dropout, is struggling to get back on his feet. He switches between staying with his parents and his on-again, off-again girlfriend (the mother of his child). But when his cousin, who’s a rapper, starts to rise to fame, Earn teams up with him to become his manager. He also uses this as an opportunity to gain his independence back and provide for his daughter. It’s one of the best shows that we’ve seen to date, and the fact that it scored 100% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes says more than enough.
There are actually two timelines in this series. In the first, FBI agent Alex Parrish becomes a prime suspect after a terrorist attack on Grand Central Terminal. She’s forced to go on the run while trying to prove her innocence. And in the second, a group of new FBI recruits goes through training. The central character is a woman of color, and the rest of the cast is also quite blended and diverse.
Like How to Get Away With Murder, this is a Shonda Rhimes original. In Grey’s, we follow the lives of surgical interns and doctors at Seattle Grace Hospital. These guys try to balance their stressful jobs with their personal lives and relationships, which often proves to be a challenge. We do enjoy seeing the drama unfold.
But part of what makes this show so great is the fact that these doctors are incredibly diverse in every single way and relatable AF. It’s also a good reminder great doctors of color really do exist.
This Andy Samberg show is about a diverse team of detectives that works in the 99th precinct of the New York City Police Department in Brooklyn. However, we get to focus on the laid-back and immature Jake Peralta, who also happens to be their best detective. The group is headed by a new commanding officer, who seems to be the total opposite of Jake’s personality. Seeing how they clash is beyond hilarious.
When it comes to superhero films and shows, usually the ethnic diversity of the characters is slim to none. But thankfully, The Flash is a rare exception. On the show, we get to know Barry’s tight-knit group of family and friends, also known as “Team Flash.”
Day in and day out, they come together to help Barry defeat new threats. But what we really love is that this team includes people of different races. And some of the supporting characters (like Cecile and her daughter) are people of color, too. People who want to create a successful superhero show in the future should definitely take note.
Master of None
In this Aziz Ansari created show, diversity is put at the forefront. Not only do the characters come from various cultural and racial backgrounds, but they actually talk about tough issues like race, gender, and sexual orientation. Dev’s BFF Denise is both a woman of color and a lesbian which is pretty groundbreaking. She’s also just amazing. The episode “Thanksgiving” that’s basically all about her is easily one of the best episodes of the show.
The show tells about an interracial lesbian couple (Lena and Stef) who try to raise one biological son and four adopted kids (which includes Latino twins). It’s incredibly rare to see such a diverse and multi-ethnic family on TV, let alone one that bravely tackles uncomfortable and controversial topics. Seeing this kind of representation definitely makes the show feel more inclusive and we’re grateful to have this series as a shining example for similar shows to come.
Issa and her BFF, Molly, are black women in their late 20s who try to navigate their way through a world that constantly expects them to be “strong black women.” But what’s amazing is that they defy that stereotype because they are unapologetically quirky and flawed. They have their insecurities and they make stupid mistakes – just like the rest of us.
But the best part is that they perfectly illustrate how it really feels to go through life as a black woman. In each episode, you can count on seeing more faces of color than white faces, and we’re all for it.
Jane the Virgin
A young Latina’s life gets turned upside down when she’s artificially inseminated by accident. Oh and did we mention she and her longtime boyfriend had been waiting until marriage to have sex? So on top of dealing with career stress and romance issues, she has to add becoming a new mom to the mix. But thankfully, Jane has the support of her mother, her abuela, her boyfriend, and her baby’s father. Most of the characters that we encounter in the series are Latinos, which is amazing (and unfortunately, extremely rare for mainstream television shows). The fact that it’s also set up like a telenovela that’s slightly satirical is a huge bonus.