According to a report from Statista, the average American spends approximately three hours every day watching TV. That number is higher for the Black community, who watches an average of 3.23 hours of TV shows daily. And with the emergence of streaming platforms such as Netflix or Hulu, the amount of content available is endless.

A TV Show As A Tool

Television has a great impact on the Black community as the largest consumer of television and streaming content. Historically, TV shows helped shed light on important discussions or bring about change.

“Soul Train” was the longest-running Black-owned TV show. It highlighted Black artists like Aretha Franklin and James Brown and helped give Black music and dance more visibility. 

Of course, you can’t talk about Black TV shows without mentioning “The Cosby Show.” The show garnered the attention of audiences of all races. It depicted a healthy and stable middle-class Black family, something not commonly seen on television then.

Black Women And Television

Watching TV is a favorite pastime for many Americans, but especially for Black women. The social aspect of watching TV and other streaming content makes it even better. Fans of popular TV series often hop on social media to discuss characters, themes, and plot twists. And when your favorite TV show ends, it’s always easier to say goodbye as a collective.

Television has the extraordinary ability to bring us all together. Whether we’re laughing with the “Real Housewives” or fuming over “Bad Girls Club,” television plays a special part in the community. Here are ten classics that almost every Black woman has watched:

1.

Living Single

“Living Single” follows a group of young Black friends as they navigate life in Brooklyn, New York. The show proved to be an escape for fans who watched the group as they covered topics like sex, relationships, and careers while maintaining their sisterhood.

In a 1993 interview with ET, Kim Fields (Regine Hunter) gushes about the premise, “You’ve never seen these women before. Four Black women in that twenty-something age range who are in New York and trying to make it.”

The series is the ultimate show for Black women, paving the way for other shows like Insecure and Girlfriends to gain massive success. In fact, “Living Single” inspired the hit television show “Friends,” which centers a group of white friends living in New York City.

2.

Insecure

 

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Insecure” is a popular HBO series that follows Issa Dee, played by Issa Rae, as she juggles romance, her career, and family. Helping her keep it all together is her group of friends, Molly (Yvonne Orji), Tiffany (Amanda Seales), and Kelli (Natasha Rothwell). Together, the women battle their flaws and insecurities in this twist on a traditional coming-of-age story.

 

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The show is a spin-off of the popular YouTube series “Awkward Black Girl” featuring Issa Rae. The series amassed a huge fanbase, leading to an HBO offer that allowed Rae to introduce “Insecure.” It achieved monumental success, earning a number of nominations and awards, including a Primetime Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Comedy Series.”

3.

I Love New York

When Tiffany Pollard, a.k.a. “New York” debuted in VH1’s dating game show “The Flavor of Love,” she became one of reality tv’s biggest personalities. And even though she didn’t win the heart of legendary rapper Flavor Flav on the show, she stole the hearts of fans across the country.

Her spin-off show “I Love New York” featured a group of 20 eligible bachelors who competed to become her one true love.

Fans tuned in each week to watch New York as she reveled in the attention. From awkward dates to hilarious outbursts, the series proved why New York is the realest HBIC.

4.

Girlfriends

 

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Girlfriends is a comedy-drama series that centers four Black friends, Joan, Maya, Lynn, and Toni. The show was known for its relatability as it dared to cover heavy topics like divorce and sexuality.

One of the best things about the show is that each character had a unique personality that fans could resonate with. Even male fans found common ground with the characters, including their close guy friend, William Dent.

The series lasted for eight seasons with a whopping 172 episodes. And in 2006, it released its spin-off “The Game,” starring Tia Mowry and Pooch Hall.

5.

Scandal

Scandal is a widely popular television drama that aired on ABC network. The series featured actress Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, a young media consultant for the president of the United States.

When she starts a crisis management firm, she soon finds that her clients aren’t the only ones who need management. In a harrowing tale of crime, lust, and betrayal, Scandal quickly became the political drama we didn’t know we needed.

Even better, famed Black producer Shonda Rhimes was the creative behind the series. She helped put Black actresses on the map, proving that Black women could be more than sassy, finger-waving drama queens. Olivia Pope was intellectual, vulnerable, and passionate, a perspective not commonly seen on television at the time.

6.

The Parkers

 

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“The Parkers” are a fun family comedy featuring a mother and daughter tag team, played by Mo’Nique and Countess Vaughn. Going off to college is an exciting time for most teens. But when Nikki Parker decides to attend the same junior college as her daughter Kim, the result is comedy gold.

 

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Fans tuned in each episode to watch the duo’s hilarious misadventures, from sorority pledges to college romance. The show also featured a number of celebrity guest stars, including Lil’ Kim, Brandy, and Nick Cannon.

The series was a hit among Black women and lasted five seasons before ending with its 110th episode.

7.

Moesha

“Mo to the, E to the!”

Even if you didn’t know any other part of the theme song to “Moesha,” you knew that. “Moesha” is a Black television show that aired in the 90s. It follows a young girl, Moesha, as she manages high school, young love, and friendship. Not to mention her father’s new wife, who decides to move in with the family.

Moesha was played by Brandy Norwood, a superstar singer who had a critically-acclaimed debut album at the time. Still, the series was relatable to Black women and girls who saw themselves in “Moesha, as she covered sensitive subjects like divorce, sex, and racism.

8.

The Flavor of Love

“The Flavor of Love” is VH1’s popular reality television series starring rapper Flavor Flav. It follows a group of 20 women who move to a Los Angeles mansion to compete to win his heart. The rapper would eliminate one woman each week until he found the girl of his dreams.

Public Enemy rapper Flavor Flav was a big draw for the show; however, the contestants quickly became the focal point. Tiffany “New York” Pollard made her reality tv debut there. Her wild antics, witty comebacks, and flamboyant personality made for great tv.

Fans tuned in each week to watch her duke it out with other popular contestants, including “Deelishis” (Chandra Davis), “Hottie” (Schatar Sapphira Collier), and “Buckeey” (Shay Johnson).

The show ended after three seasons, but its spin-off, “I Love New York,” was successful as well.

9.

That’s So Raven

 

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“That’s So Raven” is a Disney Channel series about a young Black teenager with a secret gift. Raven Baxter, played by Raven-Symoné, has a special psychic ability that allows her to see the future before it happens. But seeing the future isn’t the superpower it’s cracked up to be. Fans enjoyed watching Raven as she schemes and strategizes to change certain outcomes before they happen.

Her best friends, Eddie (Orlando Brown) and Chelsea (Anneliese van der Pol) were popular characters on the tv show. Together, they entertained audiences over four seasons. The show was one of Disney’s most popular series and paved the way for its spin-off “Cory in the House” and reboot “Raven’s Home.”

10.

Empire

 

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“Empire” is a television series that follows hip-hop artist Lucious Lyon and his ex-wife “Cookie” as they fight to keep their musical empire on top.

 

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The couple, played by Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, showed fans the true meaning of “us against the world.” And with the help of their three sons, the family proved to be an unbreakable force in the music industry.

 

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Created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, the series amassed a cult following who tuned in to see how the show covered themes of greed and deception, sexuality, and murder. The gritty TV show was especially popular among Black women, who contributed to more than half of its audience.

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