The best Black TV shows of 2021
Here are the top Black TV shows that you can watch right now (and a few to look forward to).
Godfather of Harlem tells the tale of infamous crime boss Bumpy Johnson (Forest Whittaker) who returns to the streets of Harlem after a 10-year stint in Alcatraz prison to find the areas he once ruled in chaos. The drama also explores Johnson’s ties to Malcolm X (Nigel Thatch) and civil rights leader and politician Adam Clayton Powell (Giancarlo Esposito).
The Godfather of Harlem seasons one and two are available to watch on Starzplay available through Amazon Prime Video in the UK.
Related: Pose‘s Mj Rodriguez on the “hope” of the season 3 finale, the show’s legacy and talk of a prequel
The groundbreaking ballroom drama comes to an end with its third and final season. Set in the height of the AIDS epidemic, the series follows Blanca (Mj Rodriguez) juggling motherhood, work and relationships, and Pray Tell’s (Billy Porter) health struggles, all while still focusing on the glamour of drag culture of the ’90s.
The final season of Pose is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
Related: Who are the ‘Black Mafia Family’ on the show BMF?
Inspired by the true story of notorious drug traffickers Demetrius ‘Big Meech’ Flenory and Terry ‘Southwest T’ Flenory, BMF follows the beginnings of the brothers’ empire in ’80s Detroit, Michigan. Demetrius ‘Lil’ Meech’ Flenory Jr has been cast to play his father on the show, while Grown-ish’s Da’Vinchi portrays younger brother Southwest T.
There are also regular appearances from The Wire’s Wood Harris, Snoop Dogg, Kash Doll and Eric Kofi Abrefa who plays the brothers’ main rival Lamar.
BMF is available to watch on Starzplay available through Amazon Prime Video in the UK.
The season-three finale of Black-ish spinoff Grown-ish finally gave fans an end to Zoey (Yara Shahidi) and Aaron’s (Trevor Jackson) on-off, love triangle relationship, resulting in Aaron declaring his love for Zoey and leaving his current (now former) girlfriend Rochelle hanging.
While we’re eager to find out what happened next with Zoey and Aaron, we can’t help but think about the finale’s cliffhanger – it saw Vivek (Jordan Buhat) pulled over by police with his drug stash, which his girlfriend Heidi (Kirrilee Berger) unknowingly pulled out.
Grown-ish season four airs on Freeform in the US and as of now no release date for the UK has been confirmed. Seasons one to three of Grown-ish are available to watch with Star on Disney+.
Related: For Life‘s Nicholas Pinnock opens up about the change in season 2
For Life returned to the UK for its final season on September 27. The drama is inspired by the real-life story of Isaac Wright Jr, who helped overturn convictions after he was wrongly incarcerated for a crime he did not commit.
The show follows Aaron Wallace (Nicholas Pinnock) using his new-found freedom to take on the justice system one case at a time.
For Life season two is available to watch on NOW.
Related: Snowfall season 5 – everything you need to know
John Singleton’s co-created show Snowfall chronicles the rise of the crack cocaine epidemic on the streets of LA. The series follows Franklin Saint (Damson Idris) who tries to regain control of his drug empire after being shot in the season three finale, while the gang wars on the streets of South Central LA close in. Now in its fourth season, Snowfall is an unmissable show.
Snowfall season four is available to watch on BBC iPlayer, seasons one to three are also available to watch with Star on Disney+.
Related: Lupin season 3 – everything you need to know
Crime thriller Lupin is a fresh take on the tales of fictional thief and master of disguise Arséne Lupin. Con man Assane Diop (Omar Sy) sets out to avenge his father’s death, after he was framed by his employers for stealing an expensive necklace.
Lupin part 1 and part 2 is available to watch on Netflix.
From director Barry Jenkins, the miniseries follows runaway slave Cora (Thuso Mbedu) as she fights for her freedom using the underground railroad, but is relentlessly chased by slave catcher Arnold Ridgeway (Joel Edgerton). Adapted from Colson Whitehead’s novel of the same name, the show makes for a difficult yet unforgettable watch.
The Underground Railroad is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.
Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson revives Kanan Stark’s short-lived story in this Power prequel. A teenage Kanan (Mekai Curtis) goes from being a child of school, to a child of the streets and his mother’s drug empire in ’80s Jamaica, Queens, New York.
The series was renewed for a second season ahead of the show’s premiere in July, and Queen Sugar‘s Omar Dorsey and Sistah‘s KJ Smith have been confirmed for season two, which will hit Starz next year.
Watch Power Book III: Raising Kanan on Starzplay available through Amazon Prime Video in the UK.
While 2021 has brought a host of incredible Black stories to our TV screens, the rest of the year and 2022 is set to be even bigger. Here are some of the shows that we’re looking forward to.
Related: Why Javicia Leslie is the Batwoman we need right now
Javicia Leslie returns as vigilante Ryan Wilder to take on the villains of Gotham City. Season three will follow Batwoman’s crime-fighting journey joined by Batwing (Camrus Johnson) who’s just getting used to his suit. Fans got a glimpse of villain the Mad Hatter in a first look trailer.
And, after that season-two finale bombshell, fans (and Ryan), will hopefully find out whether Ryan’s birth mother is still out there.
Batwoman season three will air October 13 on The CW in the US, E4 airs the series in the UK and a date is TBC.
Related: Insecure season four could not be more timely
Insecure returns for its fifth and final season following the life of mirror-rapping Issa Dee (Issa Rae). The season-five trailer teased the arrival of Condola’s (Christina Elmore) baby – which could mean trouble in paradise for Issa and Lawrence (Jay Ellis) – Issa’s (now best friend) Nathan (Kendrick Sampson), and a new look for Molly (Yvonne Orji), who appears without Andrew (Alexander Hodge) by her side.
Season five of Insecure will air October 24 on HBO in the US, a UK release is yet to be confirmed.
Colin Kaepernick and Ava DuVernay bring this series chronicling the teenage years of the NFL quarterback and civil rights activist. The drama follows an adolescent Kaepernick as he navigates life in the face of race, class and culture as a Black adoptive child of white parents. Gotham‘s Jaden Michael stars as a young Kaepernick, while the show is narrated by Kaepernick himself.
Colin in Black and White comes to Netflix on October 29.
Related: Power star Larenz Tate is bumped to series regular for Ghost season two
Power Book II: Ghost follows murderer Tariq St Patrick as he continues life at college and his glowing drug empire alongside Monet Tejada (Mary J Blige), and Power fans got a sneak peek into the second season in the new trailer.
The last we saw of Tariq he was in major trouble, so this series will be sure to explore the consequences of his actions.
Power Book II: Ghost season two premieres November 21 on Starzplay available through Amazon Prime Video in the UK.
Related: Power: What happened to each character – and what their fates mean for the spin-offs
In the spin-off show to Power, Force will follow Tommy Egan’s (Joseph Sikora) antics after the murder of his childhood best friend and partner in crime – literally – James ‘Ghost’ St Patrick (Omari Hardwick) by his own son Tariq St Patrick (Michael Rainey Jr).
Fans of the Power universe have already been teased with Tommy’s comeback in this first look photo, and with his appearance in the Ghost spin-off. But, Force will be set in the aftermath of Ghost’s murder at Truth.
Power Book IV: Force will air on Starzplay available through Amazon Prime Video in the UK and is set for an early 2022 release.
Related: P-Valley‘s Nicco Annan on Black queerness, serving looks, and why “femininity is total strength”
P-Valley follows the lives of strippers at The Pynk strib club in the fictitious town of Chucalissa, Mississippi Delta. Season 2 will surely bring us back into The Pynk which was saved from casino developers after Autumn (Elarica Johnson) won the club at auction. However, the season 1 finale left us with one huge unanswered question, did Uncle Clifford (Nicco Annan) and Autumn help to kill Mercedes’ (Brandee Evans) gangster ex in the Paradise Room, or is he still alive?
P-Valley season one is available to watch on Starzplay available through Amazon Prime Video in the UK. Season two is set to be released in 2022.