Netflix’s Acquisition Of Your Favorite Black Sitcoms Is Proof That The Earth Is Healing Itself

Photo: Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives.
Netflix has been doing a great job of holding us down during the last seven months of the global pandemic, supplying us with an unlimited stream of television and film projects to binge-watch in quarantine. But the streaming giant's next content rollout might be its best yet, reuniting us with some of the most beloved Black series of the 90s and early 2000s.
Strong Black Lead, Netflix's Black content division, broke the internet with the news that the platform would finally be offering a number of Black television shows in the coming months. And I'm not talking just any shows — I mean the cult classics.
"Time to pop bottles!" tweeted Strong Black Lead's official Twitter account.
The epic announcement included the news that Netflix had acquired the licenses to Moesha, The Game, Sister Sister, Girlfriends, The Parkers, Half & Half, and One on One. Fans of the shows have been begging Netflix and other platforms to host the screen gems for ages, but securing the rights to the shows was no easy task.
"We've been working through the logistics to bring these shows to the platform for a very long time," tweeted Jasmyn Lawson, a Strong Black Lead editorial executive, once the news hit the timeline. "And we've been working on the launch plan for months."
The acquisition of these shows is a big deal for many reasons, the first being the fact that many of the series are virtually impossible to find anywhere. While some are still in late night syndication (The Parkers, The Game), shows like Sister Sister and Moesha can't be found anywhere. And don't get me started on Girlfriends. If I hadn't watched it for myself when it was still on air, I might now believe that the show even existed to begin with — the episodes are that hard to find.
Netflix's Black TV rollout also matters because the coming content speaks to a different time within the television space in which Black shows were not so far and few between. The 90s and early 2000s were the golden age of Black television, providing viewers with nuanced portrayals of Black family, Black love, and Black life.
Many of us could fully relate to Tia and Tamera getting their first relaxers on Sister Sister, and we felt Melanie's pain on The Game when her relationship was deterred by baby mama drama. Brandy's turn as Moesha on the eponymous family sitcom inspired me to get microbraids, and I'm still trying to figure out which of the Girlfriends' squad I'm more like now that I'm grown. (I'd say that right now, I'm a Maya moon with a Joan sun. If you know, you know.)
Unlike the current television landscape that often limits its Black characters to supporting roles with shallow storylines, these shows reflected the spectrum of the Black experience and were the blueprint for popular modern shows like black-ish, blackAF, and Insecure. This isn't to say that they were without their own issues — respectability politics, fatphobia, and more problematic notions unfortunately ran wild back in those days — but series like Half & Half and One on One spoke to the lives that we live today even though they were filmed years ago.
If we can't get new shows that do that same work, we might as well turn back to the ones that made us feel seen. And Netflix has us covered.

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