• Imani Jai

Fave TV Shows to Help You Get Through Your PWI Experience

Here is my list for the best TV shows to help you get through your PWI experience. Recently I have been thinking about some of the ways to take some of the load off of our shoulders and for me TV shows help "ease" some of the PWI blues. I know a lot of people view TV as a waste of time or distraction, but I have seen it as a big part of my self-care routine. In college we often times get hit with the harsh reality of life; Donald Trump (the woes that come along w/ his presidency), bills, exams, and etc, and TV has been a part of my escape. But check out the list below!!!

1. Moesha

I think Moesha is the character any strong-willed girl can see herself in. When watching Moesha growing up I saw a lot of my friends and family in the show. It really helped me get through high school and is helping get through college right now!

2. Insecure

"Insecure" is an HBO original comedy series created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore, which is partially based on Rae's widely lauded web series Awkward Black Girl (check this out!). The show follow two best friends, Issa & Molly, who have been best friends since attending at UCLA. Issa works at a non-profit that which tries to help the minority youth in her community, and has been in a dead-end relationship since her college days w/ her boyfriend Lawrence. Molly is a successful attorney but difficulty with relationships and men. The show explores social and racial issues that relate to the everyday black experience. This is hands-down my favorite show of 2016. It is funny, clever, and so insightful. Every moment of the show I could see myself in and it made me feel so happy to know that other women are going through some of these things! This show is a MUST watch.

3. The Proud Family

Did you not LOVE this theme song?!?! Not only was The Proud Family every black girl's favorite childhood cartoon, but it is still such a good show to watch now! What other cartoon showed black teenage-hood for what it really was? We got to see Penny grow in her character, in her relationships with her family and friends, dealing with guys and all the other teenage trials, and become someone we all wanted to be!

Over winter break I found myself growing tired of watching the same old episodes of "Love & Hip-Hop" and "Black Ink Crew", and I found myself re-falling in love w/ The Proud Family. Penny Proud represents us black girls that are going through life trying to discover ourselves and trying to make the most out of life.

4. Girlfriends

I, like many of you, have not reached my adulthood yet and still trying to find my way through college, but that doesn't mean I cannot appreciate the genius that is "Girlfriends". This show is an oldie but a goodie and will always be one of my favorite shows. Thank goodness for a show that showcased black women being BOSSES and being in control of their own lives. These women were loving, classy, smart, and successful. It showed black women who faced life's tests and triumphs together through sisterhood and fellowship. That's is a narrative that I believe needs to be displayed more often in television today. From dating to divorce, balancing friends and family, and career highs and lows , Joan, Maya, Lynn and Toni support each other despite their different backgrounds, and learning about true friendship and themselves being black women in the process.

5. Blackish

Living on campus has been quite an experience for me. I was very use to living at home with my parents, my little sister, my dog and having the privilege of having the rest of my family very close to me. Although I still go to school in Pittsburgh (the city I am from), sometimes it feels like my family is miles and miles away. I remember sitting on my bed during the election and watching Trump win the presidency. I felt like my world was spiraling out of control. At that moment I was a little black girl at a VERY white school, away from my black family, the people that I needed to be with the most, and that took a toll on me. The day Blackish's episode about election aired, I felt a comfort that I really needed. It was a reminder that I am not alone.

For me Blackish has been my black family away from my black family and it has been a sort of healing mechanism for me. It is a weekly reminder of what black family, black friendship, black community authentically looks like while being at a PWI.

6. A Different World

Here is another oldie but soo goodie! I honestly cannot think of a better or more influential sitcom than A Different World. I loved this show when I was a little girl and love it even more now. I, obviously, do not attend a HBCU (there would probably be no need to write this blog if I did...), although this show still speaks to my black college experience. This show displayed what being a black person in college is really like- the hopes, the fears, the success, and the failures. I credit majority of me going to college to my family, but it would be wrong to not give credit to A Different World. The show that showed me what I wanted college to be and what I was going to make it become. This show gave me the opportunity to see black students making the most of out their college experience and being young, gifted, and black! It set a bar for me at a young age, and now I am doing it!

I advise any black college student that is growing tired of their same old PWI experience to binge-watch A Different World to bring the HBCU to their PWI. Of course your Notre Dame, Penn State, or Duquesne is not going to become a "Hillman", but it will help.

7. How to Get Away With Murder

Yes- How to Get Away With Murder is everything we love. It is drama, sex, and suspense filled, but I have fallen in love with show for a different reason. Not because of its clever writing or sex scenes, but because of the bad-ass black, female lead character. I am not going to go on a tangent about why I adore everything about Viola Davis as a person, but I really focus on how radically necessary a character such as, Annalise Keating, is for black women in college today. Annalise is the ultimate depiction of a black woman kicking ass in a field filled by majority white men, and she is successful. She is a black. She is a woman. She is a lawyer. But most of all she is a boss. I remember sitting in my second semester THEO 203 class and being one of the three black students in a pretty large class and growing uncomfortable, but then I thought about Annalise. I thought about her strength, her determination, and her resilience. And yet, even though she is all of those extraordinary things she is still human. She cries, she laughs, she loves, and she loses. She has experienced hurt similar to mine, yet she has used it as her foot stool and has succeeded.

Way too often the narrative painted by pop culture of the black woman, the black family, and the black experience is a negative one. I have found that in college, people's opinion of you or the group you belong gets put on you whether you are black/white, male/female, poor/rich. These shows offer a cleansing of the negative and give you some time to digest something authentic. These shows give black students a chance to look at authentic black experience, relationships, and people. I advise every black girl to find some TV shows that speak to her and her experience to fall in love with. Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars and all that are great, but we need to be looking at shows that fill us and our spirit up- way too often are there agents that are actively trying to deplenish our spirit.