Saturday, June 9, 2012

List of Shows Starring Black Women

As a follow-up from my last post below is a list of television shows that have a Black actress as one of the main characters. This is based on shows I have watched, some current shows, and some starring actresses I am familiar with so it won't be a complete list. I won't include some shows I think are awful representations of Black women (e.g., Martin). For me it's great if the actress is the main character but it's not that important to me as long as she is a main character. I guess I'm satisfied even if the story isn't focused around her. I'm also satisfied if the rest of the cast is non-Black... I guess because of living in Canada I am so accustomed there being very few Black people in my classes or at work that it doesn't seem strange to me or like something is missing :) But if you insist on only watching shows made by Black people, starring Black women of a certain skin tone, who meet criteria a, b, c, and d then you are severely limiting the list, your opportunities to enjoy this entertainment, and maybe making yourself miserable for no reason.

Due to the fabulous nature of the internet you can probably watch all of these shows if you want! Many young people actually get most of their entertainment from the internet and I rarely watch my actual television. So now when I turn on the TV and there are no Black women at a given time it doesn't even phase me. If there is a past show starring a Black woman then you can probably watch it and enjoy it (just like reading old books instead of recent ones) and there are many people who enjoy classic television. There are also probably many shows that have been cancelled after maybe one or two seasons or unpopular shows that you can watch if you missed them the first time. So if you need to see Black women on television right now then I suggest turning to the internet, not relying only on current shows, and watching any one of these shows especially since the older shows may actually have better role models (e.g., Claire Huxtable).

Think about your current needs rather than the career difficulties of Black actresses and how bad you feel for them (because finding work is a problem in many fields for many Black women, it is not your problem to solve, and you probably have no intention to devote time to solving their problem anyway so why bother getting worked up about it). Plus don't forget about the international shows! I'm not sure how to get a hold of shows from the Caribbean or Africa but if they're good then they are fair game too.  I suppose I'm making myself happy using the resources available to me and it has really been effective :) This doesn't even include the numerous movies, including international films that you can watch instead of shows!

I mean this is a long list of shows and it will take A LOT of time to watch them. Maybe we shouldn't be spending so much time watching television anyway? What about reading something? If you are letting your health go down the drain, not getting an education, wasting your time with dysfunctional relationships, living from check to check, then the colour of someone on TV is the least of your concerns! Turn it off sometimes and focus on what is really important for a person's well-being. Many people I know are so busy that they barely even watch TV so they wouldn't even be affected by the lack of diversity. If you watch too much television because you are depressed because your life is horrible, again it is not the TV that is making your life horrible and there are other thinks that you must focus on. Here's the list:

Castle (Penny Johnson, Tamala Jones)
The Game (not endorsing the most recent seasons)

Cosby Show
A Different World
Head of the Class (Robin Givens and another actress)
In Living Color
Living Single
Everybody Hates Chris
Sister Sister
Boy Meets World
Half and Half
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Saved by the Bell
The Parkers
Reno 911 (Niecy Nash)
Hanging with Mr. Cooper (Holly Robinson Pete and Dawn Robinson)
Ugly Betty (Vanessa Williams)
Breaker High (Persia White)
Steve Harvey Show (Wendy Raquel Robinson)
Student Bodies
The Parent Hood
Family Matters

 Fantasy/Science Fiction
Vampire Diaries (Katerina Graham)*
Eureka (Sally Richardson)*
Warehouse 13
Being Human*
True Blood (Rutina Wesley and others)*

Battlestar Galactica*
Flash Forward (Gabrielle Union)*
Star Trek*
Dead Like Me (Jasmine Guy)
The 4400 (Megalyn Echikunwoke, GREAT SHOW)*
Firefly (Gina Torres)*
*=Interracial relationships...I noticed this and found it really interesting.

Rookie Blue (see previous post)
Scandal (Kerry Washington)
Suits (Gina Torres)
Grey's Anatomy (see previous post)
Private Practice (Audra McDonald)
Law and Order SVU (Michelle Hurd early on and later Tamara Tunie)
Law and Order UK
Person of Interest (Taraji P. Henson)
Hawthorne (Jada Pinkett-Smith)
Parenthood (Joy Bryant)
Gossip Girl (Tika Sumpter...haven't seen the show so I don't know how often she is on)
Southland (Regina King)
Touch (Gugu Mbatha-Raw)
CSI Miami (Khandi Alexander)
Boss (Saana Lathan)

Missing (Gloria Ruben and later Vivica Fox)
Raising The Bar (Gloria Ruben)
ER (Michael Michelle, Gloria Ruben, CCH Pounder, Angela Bassett and others as different points)
Soul Food
Ally McBeal (Lisa Nicole Carlson)
Boston Public
I'll Fly Away
Law and Order (S. Epatha Merkeron)
Models Inc. (Michael Michelle)
Desperate Housewives (Vanessa Williams)
#1 Ladies Detective Agency (Jill Scott and Anika Noni Rose)
Nip Tuck (Sanaa Lathan but not sure how long she was on it or how big the role)
Baywatch (Tracy Bigham)
Without a Trace (Marianne Jean-Baptiste)
Cold Case (Tracie Thoms)
Degrassi Junior High
Felicity (Tangi Miller)
The Deep End (Nicole Ari Parker)
24 (Penny Johnson)

P.S. It wasn't that difficult to make this list and besides The Game it doesn't even include BET shows (because I haven't had it for years). I just thought of shows that I have watched in the past, commercials I remembered, or that shows I've heard of. I also Googled "list of Black actresses" to remind myself of shows. I actually knew the names and recognized most of the actresses on the lists but this is because I paid attention to their names on shows, noticed their names when mentioned in the media, and I used to read Black celebrity gossip blogs and magazines. But non-Black people may not be doing this which is why we should not feel disappointed if they can't name many Black actresses or when they don't appear on "Most beautiful women" lists created by the votes of mostly non-Black men.

Don't assume their lack of knowledge or that list means ALL men find EVERY SINGLE Black woman to be unattractive! Instead I attribute most of it to the fact that these celebrities are not as popular due to the mainstream media and their lack of roles. Please do not confuse popularity with attractiveness! When looking at Most Beautiful lists like Maxim's I can think of so many more attractive women who could be on the list, but since they are not popular right now, they did not come to the voters' minds. To further this example, I could name maybe 3 singers/bands that people under 18 listen to because I don't watch the music channel for that demographic or listen to their stations but that doesn't mean there are no good bands for young people...I just don't know of them. I couldn't name more than 10 athletes either and I wouldn't know their teams because I don't pay attention to sports but that doesn't mean there are no athletes right? Please stop looking for evidence that you are "less than" because that is of absolutely no use to you!


  1. Hi, there! Long time lurker, I love your site :) For sci fi, I wanted to add Doctor Who (new series): the third season companion is a black woman Martha Jones. I've only just started the 3rd series but shes awesome!

  2. This is my first time visiting this site and I have to say that I'm surprised that it has been written not only once but twice that you basically have to keep your comments "cute or put it on mute" (you know) more or less. Is it that bad.... really??!! It's sad that a site that celebrates, and lifts up "US" as well as spreads awareness about and to Black women has to remind folk of proper etiquette concerning their comments. Okay enough about my shock and dismay, I just wanted to say keep up the good work, love the energy/vibe you are embracing here on this site and looking forward to more of the same classy depictions of the "Black Woman" and I will share this site with others as well.