Let's Celebrate These TV Shows That Explored the Nuances of Friendship Between Black Women

From classics like Girlfriends to the unforgettable Insecure, we’re rounded up some of the best TV shows that have hit the small screen showcasing the bond between Black women.

By Kisha Forde Feb 11, 2023 3:30 PMTags
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Before Issa and Molly, there was Joan and Toni.

Although Girlfriends premiered over 22 years ago, every viewer—no matter how young you truly were—can still remember where they were when Joan and Toni's friendship dissolved in heartbreaking fashion right before Toni's wedding.

But before that moment (and after), we eagerly watched as Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross) and Toni (Jill Marie Jones)—along with Lynn (Persia White) and Maya (Golden Brooks)—took the world by storm as four Black professionals in their early thirties navigating life, love and everything in between.

Girlfriends, which ran for eight seasons until 2008, helped set the tone for representation for Black women on the small screen in the early aughts. However, let's not forget that shows like A Different World (who didn't want to be Whitley Gilbert marching around campus at one point?) and Living Single also paved the way for celebrating the nuances of friendship between Black women in the early ‘90s.

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Now, with shows like Insecure—which came to an end in December 2021 and has us missing Issa (Issa Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji) desperately—Run The World and Harlem, different generations are continuing to enjoy that magic once again from various angles featuring both classic and up-to-date storylines.

Merie Wallace/HBO

And in celebration of television's finest, we've listed a few of the most memorable shows centered around the bond between those unforgettable characters below:

A Different World

Although A Different World started out with the focus being on Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet), the series quickly expanded to the musings of the standout students attending Hillman College after her departure in season one. While the love story of Whitley (Jasmine Guy) and Dwayne (Kadeem Harrison) took center stage, the experience of college life at an HBCU is something that will remain forever with audiences.

Living Single

In a ‘90s kind of world, we're glad we had our girls. Living in a brownstone with five of your closest friends in reality may not be all that appeasing—but with friends like Khadijah (Queen Latifah), Synclaire (Kim Coles), Régine (Kim Fields) and Max (Erika Alexander)—it looked like the best time anyone could ever have in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Not to mention, watching them flourish in their various careers (which included professions in law, journalism and entrepreneurship) was nothing short of aspirational.


Girlfriends served as a game changer when it premiered in September 2000. The crew of Joan, Toni, Lynn and Maya etched themselves into sitcom royalty as being one of the most notable friend groups to hit television at the time. Even more than two decades later, viewers were elated to see the classic series streaming on Netflix and enjoyed watching their four-friend group live it up all over again during a 2019 reunion episode of black-ish.

Half & Half

Okay, so technically Half & Half focused on two sisters Mona (Rachel True) and DeeDee (Essence Atkins) rediscovering their relationship in their mid-twenties after being estranged throughout their childhood. However, these two slowly but surely got into the groove of sisterhood by becoming unbreakable friends first.


With its debut in 2016, Issa Rae's show Insecure became an instant hit for both HBO and among audiences. Following the lives of BFFs Issa and Molly along with their friends Kelly (Natasha Rothwell) and Tiffany (Amanda Seales), the hilarious show took a refreshing look at the dynamic between four Black women as they navigated the ups and downs of their professional and personal lives. And if you don't take our word for it, look no further than the eight Primetime Emmy nominations the series earned after its fourth season in 2020.

Run the World

This comedic series created by Yvette Lee Bowser (who was also at the helm of Living Single and Half & Half) debuted in May 2021 to overwhelmingly positive reviews—and even holds a perfect score rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Set in Harlem, New York, the show follows four very different friends as they lean on each other for guidance throughout their everyday lives. And for viewers eager to play catch up with Whitney (Amber Stevens West), Ella, (Andrea Bordeaux), Renee (Bresha Webb) and Sondi (Corbin Reid)—have no fear since the Harlem-based clique will be returning for season two.


When Meagan Good stepped into the role of Camille in the 2021 Amazon Prime series Harlem, she and her on-screen trio of close friends: Quinn (Grace Byers), Angie (Shoniqua Shandai), and Tye (Jerrie Johnson)not only proved they were another ground-breaking staple group in NYC, but made quite the splash while doing so. Fun fact: The show's creator, Tracy Oliver, wrote a number of films including Girls Trip and Little—and previously co-starred alongside Issa Rae in the web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.

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