2020 has been a hell of a year but we were able to make it through by binging on funny, suspenseful, action packed and romantic content from some of our favorites and newbies debuting in the industry.
Here, Cassiopeia, co founder of TheBlackMall.com and Miranda of Chi AFQ, both who love watching, binging and discussing the best of Black TV & Film give their collective and individual top 20 lists!
Watch our full breakdown here and see the full list below:
Greenleaf follows the unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family with scandalous secrets and lies, their palatial family mansion compound, and their sprawling Memphis megachurch with predominantly African-American members.
Black-ish follows an upper middle class African-American family led by Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross). The show revolves around the family’s lives, as they juggle several personal and sociopolitical issues.
18. Blood & Water
Inspired by the life and work of artist Keith Knight (Lamorne Morris), comedy series Woke takes an absurdly irreverent look at identity and culture as it follows Keef, an African-American cartoonist finally on the verge of mainstream success when an unexpected incident changes everything. With a fresh outlook on the world around him, Keef must now navigate the new voices and ideas that confront and challenge him, all without setting aflame everything he’s already built.
16. A fall from Grace
When a woman is indicted for murdering her husband, her lawyer thinks there may be a conspiracy at play.
14. Black Lightning
Jefferson Pierce, a high school principal who retired from his superhero identity Black Lightning nine years prior after seeing the effects it had on his family, as he is forced to become a hero again when the rise of the local gang called The 100 leads to increased crime and corruption in his community of Freeland.
Created by Mara Brock Akil, her husband Salim Akil (Creators of Girlfriends, The Game, Being Mary Jane and Love Is)
13. P Valley
P-Valley follows the lives of several people working in a popular strip club in the Mississippi Delta that could potentially be shut down for new development. As they fight to remain open, they individually face issues of domestic violence, closeted romances, family drama and money laundering.
Created by Katori Hall
12. Miss Juneteenth
A former beauty queen and single mom prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the “Miss Juneteenth” pageant.
Written/Directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples (writer for Queen Sugar)
Joe is a middle-school band teacher whose life hasn’t quite gone the way he expected. His true passion is jazz — and he’s good. But when he travels to another realm to help someone find their passion, he soon discovers what it means to have soul.
Co Directed by Kemp Powers (Pixar’s first Black writer-director)
10. Self Made
(Netflix mini series)
Self Made is a fictionalized depiction of “the untold story of black hair care pioneer and mogul Madam C. J. Walker and how she overcame the hostilities of turn-of-the-century America, epic rivalries, and tumultuous marriages to become America’s first Black, self–made female millionaire.
Based on On Her Own Ground by A’Lelia Bundles
“Insecure” is a half-hour comedy follows the friendship of two modern-day black women, Issa Dee (Issa Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji) and all of their uncomfortable experiences and racy tribulations.” In Season 4, Issa has finally found her purpose and has set out to run her own business, Molly finds a man but can she keep him and is Lawrence back?
Created by Issa Rae & Larry Wilmore
8. Jingle Jangle
Decades after his apprentice betrays him, a once joyful toy maker finds new hope when his bright young granddaughter appears on his doorstep.
Written/Directed by David E. Talbert
7. LoveCraft Country
Based on Matt Ruff’s novel of the same name, Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) as he meets up with his friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father (Michael Kenneth Williams).
Developed by Misha Green
Kenya Barris plays a fictionalized version as himself that uncovers the messy, unfiltered, and often hilarious world of what it means to be a ‘new money’ black family trying to ‘get it right’ in a modern world where ‘right’ is no longer a fixed concept.”
Created by Kenya Barris
5. For Life
The series centers on Aaron Wallace, who has been sentenced to life in prison for a crime he did not commit. While incarcerated, Wallace becomes a lawyer and works as a defense attorney for others while striving to get his own sentence overturned. The series is loosely based on the life of Isaac Wright Jr.
Executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson
4. Bad Boys 4 Life
(released pre pandemic now playing
The wife and son of a Mexican drug lord embark on a vengeful quest to kill all those involved in his trial and imprisonment — including Miami Detective Mike Lowrey. When Mike gets wounded, he teams up with partner Marcus Burnett and AMMO — a special tactical squad — to bring the culprits to justice. But the old-school, wisecracking cops must soon learn to get along with their new elite counterparts if they are to take down the vicious cartel that threatens their lives.
Produced by Will Smith
3. PowerBook II
Power Book II: Ghost picks up the narrative just a few days after the Power finale. The sequel then follows Tariq navigating his new life, in which his desire to shed his father’s legacy comes up against the mounting pressure to save his family. Along the way, Tariq gets entangled in the affairs of the cutthroat Tejada family, adding further complications as he tries to balance his drug operations with his education, love life, family affairs, and mounting pressure from Cooper Saxe.
Created by Courtney A. Kemp
2. Just Mercy
(now playing on HBO Max, Fandango, Google Play, VUDU, prime video, Apple TV, ROW8, redbox)
After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian’s life.
Based on Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
1. Sylvie’s Love
Sylvie has a summer romance with a saxophonist who takes a summer job at her father’s record store in Harlem. When they reconnect years later, they discover that their feelings for each other have not faded with the years.
Written/Directed by Eugene Ashe
0 No Highest. Antebellum
Successful author Veronica Henley is finishing a book tour before she returns home to her husband and daughter. But a shocking turn of events is about to upend Veronica’s existence, plunging her into a horrifying reality that forces her to confront her past, present and future — before it’s too late.
Written/Directed by Gerard Bush