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Best shows to stream for Black History Month

In recognition of Black History Month, a number of streaming platforms have curated movies and TV shows that shed light on the Black experience — past and present, fiction and non-fiction. To help you zero in on these selections, we’ve put together this roundup of the best shows to stream for Black History Month, featuring options from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO.

After checking out our roundup of the best shows, you may want to dive into our list of the best movies to stream for Black History Month, along with our roundup of the best Black films on Netflix.

Dear White People

Dear White People

Based on the much-lauded 2014 film of the same name, Dear White People follows a group of Black students at the fictional Winchester University, a predominately white campus. Leaning on comedy and satire, the show follows the individual experiences of the main cast as they grapple with self-identity, activism, political correctness, and racism in a world that claims to be socially aware, albeit only to an extent. Created by Justin Simien (the writer-director of Dear White People, the film) and featuring narration from none other than Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking BadThe Mandalorian), Netflix’s Dear White People is savage and hilarious, oftentimes in the same breath. This is why we love it.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Stars: Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, DeRon Horton
Creator: Justin Simien
Rating:
TV-MA
Number of seasons: 
3

 Watch on Netflix
Black Lightning

Black Lightning

Premiering on January 16, 2018, The CW’s Black Lightning is an adaptation of the DC Comics character and story, penned by Tony Isabella and Trever Von Eeden. Starring Cress Williams as the titular hero, the show follows Jefferson Pierce, the man who once bore the Black Lightning moniker but traded his cape for a peaceful life with his wife and two daughters. But when a gang of long-ago villains rears its head once more, the city of Freeland will suffer. Thus, Black Lightning returns. Combining humor, superhero action set pieces, and well-balanced and incisive social commentary, Black Lightning is a fitting addition to Netflix’s library of comic books, heroes, and villains, with the first three seasons available to stream. A fourth and final season is currently airing on The CW.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Stars: Cress Williams, James Remar, Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III
Creator: Salim Akil
Rating:
TV-14
Number of seasons: 
3

Watch on Netflix
Wu Tang: An American Saga

Wu-Tang: An American Saga

Premiering on Hulu in September 2019, Wu-Tang: An American Saga chronicles the formation of the titular rap group. Taking place in an early 1990s New York City riddled with crack cocaine, Bobby Diggs (RZA) seeks a creative path through the hardships and hurdles of the depressive city. His artistic vision culminates with the formation of Wu-Tang, uniting a dozen black artists to unleash a sound and words that the world had never heard before. Taking some creative liberties with the subject matter, Wu-Tang is an emotionally raw and largely authentic portrayal of the group’s rise to stardom. The entire first season is available to stream on Hulu, with a second season on the way sometime soon.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Stars:
Creator: RZA, Alex Tse
Rating:
TV-MA
Number of seasons: 
1

Watch on Hulu
Black-ish

Black-ish

Black-ish is a long-running ABC series created by Kenya Barris, which follows the day-in-the-life tribulations of the Johnson family, an upper-class family made up of father Andre (Anthony Anderson), his wife Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), and their five kids. Shining a light on cultural assimilation, identity, and racial issues, the series uses comedy and satire to present an all-encompassing portrait of the Black experience. Premiering in 2014, all seven seasons of the show are available to stream on Hulu.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Stars:
Creator: Kenya Barris
Rating:
TV-PG
Number of seasons: 
7

Watch on Hulu
Free Meek

Free Meek

This five-part true-crime documentary series looks at the life of the Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill. In 2017, he was arrested for probation violations, the original sentence bestowed upon him by a racially unjust legal system. Through interviews with Meek Mill, Jay-Z, activists, and legal experts, the biased nature of the case is brought to light. Corruption is on display in this docuseries, one that doesn’t shy from infuriation and social awareness. All five episodes are available to stream on Amazon Prime.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Stars: Meek Mill, Jay-Z, Van Jones
Creator: Roc Nation, The Intellectual Property Corporation
Rating:
TV-MA
Number of seasons: 
1

Watch on Amazon Prime
Insecure

Insecure

HBO’s Insecure is a loose adaptation of creator Issa Rae’s successful web series, Awkward Black Girl. Starring Issa Rae as herself and Yvonne Orji as her best friend, Molly, the series unpacks the Black female experience through sharp comedic writing and brilliant acting from the larger-than-life talents, set against the backdrop of sunny Los Angeles. A nearly-perfect comedy-drama, the impact grows from season to season, making for one of the best binges of this roundup. The first four seasons are available to stream on HBO and HBO Max, with a fifth and final season in development.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Stars: Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis
Creator: Issa Rae, Larry Wilmore
Rating:
TV-MA
Number of seasons: 
4

Watch on HBO Max
I May Destroy You

I May Destroy You

I May Destroy You stars Michaela Coel as Arabella, a successful writer that suffers through a traumatic date-rape experience in the show’s first episode. Meshing dark humor with heart-wrenching drama and featuring a primarily Black ensemble of British talents, the series is a mighty and brave take on sexual assault in the #MeToo era but also a masterful observation of overseas diversity. Through music and dialects, the show paints an ever-changing mural of black life in London for straight women, gay men, and ethnicities of every kind. The show has appeared on several “best series” 2020 year-end roundups and is available to stream on HBO and HBO Max.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Stars: Michaela Coel, Aml Ameen, Weruche Opia
Creator: Michaela Coel
Rating:
TV-MA
Number of seasons: 
1

Watch on HBO Max

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