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As protests and riots dominate the news this week I find it hard to think what little I can do from my small perch in the world. So I’ve dug deep and decided I would do a series this week on the media I know best – entertainment – and share some of my all-time favorite t.v. shows, movies, books, and musicals featuring colored men and women in the lead roles.
Perhaps this might encourage or inspire you to broaden your repertoire and de-Colonize your library. Even if you don’t want to start a political discussion, you have to admit that these shows are all highly entertaining and worth watching no matter the color of your skin nor the gender you identify with.
As a child (Asian adopted by a Caucasian family) I remember watching t.v. shows in the 80s and 90s with both Hispanic and African American stars such as The Cosby Show and I Love Lucy. But strangely there were few Asian leads in t.v. shows or movies I’d watch growing up and while I never expressed my thoughts aloud – it was weird. I believe that it’s when we have a colorful array of actors and characters in our entertainment that we start to become color-blind (so to speak) and can focus more on the person versus the skin color or gender.
6 Favorite T.V. SHOWS to Stream Featuring Person of Color as a Lead
I tried to keep these shows family friendly that you can watch with your teenage kids.
#1. Bosch (Amazon Prime Video)
Featuring: Jamie Hector, Lance Reddick
Premise: Bosch is based on the bestselling series by Michael Connelly about LAPD Detective Bosch (Titus Welliver) who fights for justice no matter the cost alongside his partner (Jamie Hector) and with the respect and support of the Police Chief (Lance Reddick).
Age Appropriateness: TV-MA for violence, language, nudity
Featuring: Jon Huertas, Tamala Jones, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Penny Johnson Jerald
Premise: A writer (Nathan Fillion) partners with NYPD detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) to gain inspiration for his new character. At the NYPD, Castle meets and works with many men and women of color including Detective Esposito, Captain Montgomery, Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, and later Captain Gates.
Age Appropriate: 13+ for mild violent and sexual content
#3. Last Man Standing (Fox)
Featuring: Jonathan Adams, Krista Marie Yu
Premise: Tim Allen headlines this hilarious family friendly comedy about a manly man in Colorado who is a married father of 3 daughters, exchange host of a teen from Hong Kong, grandfather, and executive at a sporting goods chain store.
Two of the show’s best comedic assets are Chuck Larabee, a retired African American U.S. Marine who does security at the store, and Jen, the teenage exchange student from Hong Kong. The show is not afraid to make jokes about race and also to show how well we can work together.
Age Appropriate: 13+ for language and adult situations
Featuring: Courtney Vance
Premise: Law and Order Criminal Intent was the best of the Law and Order franchise in my humble opinion. Courtney Vance was one of the best Assistant District Attorneys in the series too. His character was respectable, honest, hard working, conservative and honorable. He might butt heads with the police but they always respected him.
Age Appropriateness: 13+ for mild violence, sexuality, and language
#5. Lethal Weapon
Featuring: Damon Waynes, Keesha Sharp
Premise: Sadly Lethal Weapon lasted only 3 seasons due mostly in part to casting issues. However, based on the hit movie series – the t.v. series was hilarious and very entertaining. My family loved watching the show and one of the best parts of the show has to be the great chemistry between all the cast members, especially Damon Waynes and his partner at the LAPD.
Damon Waynes is a hilarious talent who needs to be used more by Hollywood. And Keesha Sharp is one of the most stunning women in Hollywood and the chemistry between the two is top notch.
Age Appropriateness: 13+ for violence, language and some sensuality
Featuring: Taraji P. Hanson
Premise: Person of Interest was a clever procedural show about two men who off-book are trying to save the world, one case at a time with the help of a computer program. Taraji P. Hanson (prior to Empire) was the NYPD detective the duo eventually partner with throughout the show.
Age Appropriateness: 13+ for violence, language, and some sensuality
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What are some of your favorite t.v. shows (past and present) featuring persons of color?