Black television shows have always been entertaining to the masses, yet few were available to watch on streaming networks. Netflix is one of the top streaming networks, but there were a few Black televisions show or movies on the streaming platform. Knowing this information and with an increase in racial uprisings and protests, Netflix saw an opportunity to showcase Black storytelling. In June, the streaming platform created the Black Lives Matter collection. According to People Magazine, “The Black Lives Matter collection includes documentaries, series and films made more accessible to viewers seeking new perspectives amid the movement.” This collection included TV shows like Pose and Dear White People and movies like Moonlight and She’s Got to Have It by Spike Lee. To continue showcasing Black television shows, Netflix recently announced that they were adding more Black shows to the platform starting in September, including Sister Sister and Girlfriends.
By adding these shows to the streaming platform, it allows viewers to relive these series and watch them from a new perspective. Bradley Edwards, Netflix’s manager of content acquisition and the manager of Strong Black Lead, Jasmyn Lawson, state that “These classics have been at the top of our members’ wishlists — and ours’ — for a long time…”. Viewers have wanted these shows added because they remember the good feelings they got from watching these programs. It was an opportunity for young Black kids to see characters that looked like them on television. Girlfriends enables viewers to see womanhood from the perspective of a Black woman and the ups and downs of friendships and relationships. While Sister Sister lets viewers see the growing pains of teenage life and young adulthood from the Black perspective.
Adding these shows to Netflix also allows new viewers to see these shows for the first time. It serves as a conversation starter between those who have watched previously and for new viewers. Previous viewers are watching from a new set of eyes, so feelings they may have felt when watching the first time may have changed. It allows millennials to watch and form new perspectives, and even relate to the characters on some level. In a time where Black people endure persecution for simply being Black, shows like Sister Sister and Girlfriends enable viewers to see a positive image of Black life on television. These shows are an escape from reality, where Black viewers can decompress from the disturbing images they see on the nightly news or social media. The most exciting outcome of these new additions is that they will allow viewers to discuss their opinions on social media. From watch parties to trading opinions, social media will enable viewers to discuss their views with people that they may not have shared within the beginning. For previous viewers, it’s an opportunity to take a stroll down memory lane, and for new viewers, it’s a chance to make new memories. Girlfriends and Sister Sister are important shows because they show the coming of age story for black women and families. Sister, Sister dropped on Netflix on Sep. 1, while Girlfriends dropped on Sep. 11.
By: Lauren McKeithen
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