LGBTQ-inclusive shows to stream this Black History Month

This February marks Black History Month, and it is a perfect time to consume and promote stories that celebrate black LGBTQ people. It is important to elevate these voices, and to encourage new black queer stories to be told, not just this month, but year round. 

According to GLAAD’s Where We Are on TV Report, the number of black LGBTQ characters has decreased across all television platforms, showing that there is so much work to be done. Here are examples of shows that tell black LGBTQ stories, and are available to watch right now.

Black Lighting (The CW 2018 - present)

Only four episodes in to its first season, this new superhero show is not only the story of the titular Black Lighting, but also revolves around his whole family. This includes his lesbian daughter Anissa, also known as Thunder, who discovers superpowers of her own, and is trying to bring justice to the streets of her city. “I’m just really grateful to tell the story for young lesbians — and black lesbians in particular — who don’t really see themselves on TV,” says actress Nafessa Williams on the importance of this role and bring a black lesbian superhero into households across the country. Black Lightning is available to watch on The CW’s website. 

Dear White People (Netflix, 2017- present)

A continuation of out writer and director Justin Simien’s 2014 film of the same name, the TV series Dear White People continues to follow a group of black students at the fictional Winchester University. One of the major players in the series is Lionel Higgins, a journalism student who grapples with the intersection of his sexuality and race. This season follows Lionel coming into his own, as well as joining the cause to fight racial discrimination. Dear White People season one is now streaming on Netflix.

Empire (Fox, 2015 – present)

The popular musical drama from out producer and director Lee Daniels, Empire follows the high, lows, and drama of the Lyon family, moguls in the hip hop industry. The middle son of the family, Jamal (played by out actor and singer Jussie Smollett) is a gay musician, and the show follows his journey with his music and his love life, as well as an arc last season where he struggled with PTSD. Empire is currently in its fourth season, and all seasons are available to stream on Hulu.

How to Get Away with Murder (ABC, 2014-present)

Currently in its fourth season, this mystery drama from Shonda Rhimes and out showrunner Pete Nowalk features a rich ensemble lead by Viola Davis. Davis portrays protagonist Annalise Keating, a complex bisexual woman who is currently fighting against injustice in the criminal defense system. Besides Annalise, the core cast features many other black and LGBTQ characters, who drive the story forward.  The first three seasons of How to Get Away with Murder are on Netflix, and the most recent five episodes are available on Hulu.

Queen Sugar (OWN, 2016 – present)

From executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay, Queen Sugar centers on the Bordelon family in Louisiana. Main characters Nova, (played by out actress Rutina Wesley), has had relationships with both men and women on the show. Additionally, the show’s second season included trans actor Brian Michael guest starring as a black trans man, an incredibly under represented demographic. Check out GLAAD’s interview with Brian Michael here, and Queen Sugar’s first season is available to stream on Hulu.

She’s Gotta Have It (Netflix, 2017 – present)

The comedy series adaptation of the Spike Lee film, She’s Gotta Have It is the story of Nola Darling, a pansexual and polyamorous woman living in rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. The show explores many of Nola’s relationships with multiple men and women, including a romance with queer single mom, Opal. The show was picked up for a second season earlier this year. She’s Gotta Have It is available to stream in its entirety on Netflix.

Star (Fox, 2017 – present)

From Lee Daniels and the team behind Empire, Atlanta-set musical drama Star follows young singers trying to follow their dreams, and their salon owner turned manager Carlotta (Queen Latifah.) Out trans model and actress Amiyah Scott portrays Cotton, Carlotta’s transgender daughter who is trying to make ends meet. In the show’s second season, one of the main three singers, Simone embarked on a relationship with another woman. Both seasons of Star are streaming on Hulu.

Survivor’s Remorse (Starz, 2014 – 2017)

This unfortunately cancelled comedy revolved around basketball player and his family in Atlanta. His half-sister M-Chuck is a lesbian, who, over the course of the series was given her own stories involving her family, her romances, and other facets of her life. M-Chuck’s character and Survivor’s Remorse succeeded in hitting both the comedic and dramatic notes of the show. All four seasons of Survivor’s Remorse are available to stream on Starz.

The Wire (2002 – 2008)

The massively acclaimed HBO drama The Wire was an in depth look at characters, crime, and politics in Baltimore. One of the characters it was renowned for was Omar Little (Michael K. Williams), a stick-up man who was openly gay and had multiple partners throughout the run of the show.The show also included lesbian detective Kima Greggs. Both characters set a new standard for nuanced depictions of queer black people, a group that is still criminally underrepresented. The Wire is streaming in its entirety on HBO Go.

These are just some of our favorite shows with fantastic black LGBTQ characters – let us know what your favorites are. Also, check out GLAAD’s post from last year with amazing LGBTQ-inclusive films and documentaries to watch in celebration of Black History Month. We hope that in the coming months, more black queer stories will be brought to the big and small screens, and black LGBTQ voices will be amplified.