After the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, as well as an overwhelming outpouring of support for black Americans, many began to wonder how they could support black people and other people of color through consuming their art. While many people, in good faith, flocked to watch films and shows about the black experience, most of that media showcased exclusively black and brown suffering. There is a time and place for that, however, there is also a time and place to consume diverse media without trying to learn anything from it. Writer Aminatou Sow coined the phrase, “Decolonize your media diet,” to call on non-POC or LGBTQIA+ people to consume more non-white and straight things and to find ways to incorporate that into the daily things they watch, listen to and read.
Julie and The Phantoms
If you like watching throwback Disney Channel shows on Disney+, click on to Netflix to start watching Julie and the Phantoms. Julie features a young Latina girl living in Los Angeles, CA dealing with the recent death of her mother and her loss of interest in music. But don’t worry, it’s actually super fun! Julie soon meets a group of cute teenage boys (who also happen to be ghosts), and they start a rock band that performs around the city. The show is directed by Kenny Ortega, the director of the HSM trilogy, and features music numbers that compare with the best parts of the old Disney channel.
Real Housewives of Potomac
If you like Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or New York, you will love Potomac. Potomac features an all-black cast of bougie women fighting about the same silly things that we’ve come to love about the Housewives franchise. The show is currently on Season 5, which is arguably its most eventful season, but the rest of the amazing show is available on Hulu.
If you liked Fleabag or other female-led dramedies, Shrill on Hulu may be the new show for you. The show features current SNL cast member, Aidy Bryant, going through life as a plus-size journalist living in the Pacific Northwest. While the show obviously has consistent jokes and awkward moments, it also features a ton of heart and introspection and season one, episode four features a plus-size women pool party that is one of the most beautiful and emotional scenes of the show.
She’s Gotta Have It
If you like Emily in Paris or other shows that feature beautiful women in extraordinary cities, you’ll probably enjoy She’s Gotta Have It on Netflix. Based on Spike Lee’s iconic first film of the same title, the show features Nola Darling swiping through her list of men in New York City. It features the same popping colors and music taste that Spike Lee fans have come to expect, and it’s a great simple story with two seasons on Netflix.
If you enjoyed Parasite, and it’s fantastic Academy award-run last year, check out Roma on Netflix. Directed by four-time Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón, the film tells the story of a poor, indigenous Mexican woman who becomes the housekeeper for a wealthy family in Mexico City. The film features wealth disparity and civil unrest while also telling a very personal story amid it all.
If you liked The Florida Project or other A24 films, you should check Sean Baker’s directorial debut, Tangerine. Shot on an iPhone 5S, the film goes through a day in the life of a black, transgender sex worker who has just been released from prison and spends the day looking for her boyfriend who she has been told has cheated on her. The story, similar to The Florida Project, shows a harrowing world with a sunny backdrop, and never allows itself to fall into despair.
Thirst Aid Kit
If you like Call Her Daddy or other sex-comedy podcasts, you should list to Thirst Aid Kit. Hosted by two black women, each episode features a new celebrity crush of the two of them, as they openly thirst over him. Some of the objects of their thirst have even called in, such as Chris Evans in 2018.
On Their Behalf: A True Crime Podcast
If you like My Favorite Murder or other true-crime podcasts, you should listen to On Their Behalf. The podcast, hosted by two Bay-Area based women, features atypical victims to those usually covered by true crime podcasts. They also cover each victim’s story with grace and love, while also inserting comedy into these bleak stories.
Love in Colour: Mythical Tales from Around the World
If you like Nicholas Sparks or other romantic writers, you should check out Bolu Babalola’s directorial debut, Love in Colour. The book features love stories based on folklore and myths from around the world. Babalola, a Nigerian-British writer, has been known for her tweet-based fanfiction and her book features the same language surrounding love.
Children of Blood and Bone
If you like the Harry Potter series or other fantasy writing, you should read Children of Blood and Bone. Based on West-African mythology, the book tells of a young teen girl who is trying to restore magic in her kingdom, and it also goes into issues of race politics within West-African nations. Written by Nigerian novelist, Tomi Adeyemi, this book is a can’t miss.
While consuming more diverse media is not the end-all-be-all for fixing racial issues throughout the world, it may be a great place to start.