Something that I remember vividly from when I was growing up was watching television shows and movies filled with fit, blue-eyed white people, and the media telling me that this was the ideal. People of color never saw themselves positively represented in mainstream media, and when we were it was in roles so minor that most people didn’t know we were there. This was the experience for a lot of kids of color in the 80s and 90s. 

But something interesting happened with the development of streaming services like Netflix. Black writers, directors, and actors were suddenly no longer restricted by Hollywood’s lack of inclusivity. Netflix Originals became the new norm, and we’re finally starting to see the kind of representation we should have had all along. There are a ton of black stories being told on Netflix now; so much so that it can be hard to know where to start. If you’re looking for some great black narratives to watch, here are some excellent choices to start with.

1) “Raising Dion” (2019)

Meta: Raising Dion on Netflix
Source: TV Line

We’ve seen the storyline about people with telekinetic powers a million times (ex: Matilda, Lucy, Phenomenon), but never do we see the role held by someone of color. “Raising Dion” is a Netflix Original series that follows Nicole, a single mother raising her son, Dion, after the death of her husband. Things become complicated when Dion begins to manifest superhero-like abilities, and Nicole is left trying to figure out how to protect his secret while simultaneously trying to determine where these powers came from. 

2) “True Story” (2021)

Meta: True Story is a crime drama starring Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes.
Source: TV Insider

2021 was the year that Kevin Hart dipped his toes into drama, and it’s been interesting to see that his range extends beyond comedy. He stars in “True Story,” a Netflix Original mini-series about a comedian who gets sucked into helping his brother, played by Wesley Snipes, cover up a murder.

3) Bruised (2020)

Meta: Halle Berry stars as a former MMA fighter in Bruised.
Source: Netflix

Halle Berry absolutely wowed us in this sports drama, where she also makes her directorial debut. Berry plays Jackie Justice, an MMA fighter who fell from grace after forfeiting a major fight. The film follows Justice as she builds the courage to get back into fighting, all the while learning to be a mother to her estranged son Manny, who suffers from traumatic mutism. 

4) Becoming (2020)

Meta: Becoming offers an intimate look at the life and legacy of Michelle Obama.
Source: Netflix

Becoming is a beautiful documentary that follows Michelle Obama during her 34-city book tour for her memoir by the same name. The film gives us an intimate look at her life, and her tenure as First Lady of the United States.

5) 13th (2016)

Meta: Netflix teams up with award-winning director, Ava DuVernay, for 13th.
Source: PrimeTimer

Ava DuVernay never disappoints us. She has a habit of covering gritty stories that most prefer to ignore, and 13th is no exception. 13th explores the economic history of slavery and racist legislation and practices that replaced it once it was technically abolished. DuVernay depicts these as “systems of racial control” from the time slavery was abolished to the present day. 

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