A turning point for race on screen?

From shows with all black writers to all black casts, the nuance and diversity in black narratives on TV is expanding.

Salon’s Editor at Large D Watkins and Salon culture writer Rachel Leah rounded up their top picks of African-American shows on TV in 2017, including HBO’s “Insecure” and OWN’s “Queen Sugar.”

Watkins reflected on the fact that as a black kid who was born in the ‘80s and came of age in the ‘90s, there weren’t many television shows that captured his experience. Sure, there was a collection of programing that placed the top comedians of color into traditional family settings, however, they always operated in ways that reflected white America.

Shows like “The Hughleys,” “The Tracy Morgan Show,” “Martin” and “Living Single” were funny and relevant, but more importantly, they paved the way for the explosion of African-American centered and created programming today.

“One of the things that I think is extremely important is the idea of helping viewers understand that black people are as nuanced and complex as any other group of people in this country,” Watkins said. “We have our brilliant moments and then we have our issues and we have those grey areas that connect us all. I think great television shows do that. I don’t think we are in a golden era of black TV, I think this is a start of something that’s going to go on forever.”

One of the main reason for the paradigm shift is the diversity behind the camera. We have never seen so many black writers, directors and producers who are directly connected to and invested in the experiences that they are translating to viewers.

Watch the full episode above to learn more about the some of the best TV shows of the year and what to look forward to in 2018.

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