The need and desire to see Black, Brown, Asian and Indigenous people on screen has yet to be completely fulfilled by Hollywood, but there has been a recent uptick in AAPI and BIPOC representation on screen. According to a 2021 Nielsen study titled “Being Seen on Screen,” data from the 2021 to 2021 television season showed 78% of the top 1,500 shows had some racial, ethnic or sexual orientation diversity.
And people want more representation, because not only does it increase the self-esteem for people of marginalized groups, reduce stereotypes and support the wants of viewers of color, it helps accurately portray the world and the people in it.
Here are 14 shows (in no particular order) from 2022 that had casts led by people of color that are well worth watching. These series either came out in 2022 or had a season premiere this year.
“Abbott Elementary” (ABC)
Black people make up less than 12% of leads on broadcast shows, which makes the success of “Abbott Elementary” that much sweeter. We’re currently in Season 2 of this hilarious and Emmy award-winning ABC series, which was created by Quinta Brunson. The single-camera, documentary style series looks into the lives of teachers who are working in an underfunded and poorly-managed school called Williard R. Abbott Elementary School. The cast includes Brunson, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, William Stanford Davis, Zack Fox, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti, Reggie Hayes, Keyla Monterroso Mejia and more.
“Reservation Dogs” (Hulu)
In September 2022, FX renewed its original series “Reservation Dogs” for a third season, ahead of its Season 2 finale on Sept. 28. In Season 1, viewers were introduced to four Indigenous teens living in rural Oklahoma who steal in order to save up money to travel to California. The series was co-created by its showrunner Sterlin Harjo and executive producer Taika Waititi. The cast includes Paulina Alexis, K. Devery Jacobs, Elva Guerra, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Zahn McClarnon, Lane Factor, Bobby Lee, Sarah Podemski and more.
Native American representation in film and TV ranges from zero to 0.4, according to content analyses.
This John Singleton-created Los Angeles-based drama has reigned supreme on FX, raking in 4.3 million total viewers across linear, VOD and streaming following for its Season 5 premiere. The series follows Franklin Saint, played by Damson Idris, a young street entrepreneur who partners with a CIA operative Teddy (Carter Hudson) and a former Mexican wrester named Gustavo (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) to smuggle drugs onto U.S. soil during the 1980s crack cocaine epidemic. The rest of cast includes Isaiah John, Angela Lewis, Amin Joseph, Michael Hyatt, Gail Bean, Suzy Nakamura, Kevin Carroll, Emily Rios, Devyn A. Tyler and more.
“Los Espookys” (HBO Max)
“Los Espookys” was co-created by Julio Torres, Ana Fabrega and Fred Armisen, who also star in this primarily Spanish-language comedy. The series follows a horror and gore buff who starts his own business creating scary thrills for his clients. On Dec. 2 HBO canceled the show — which was part of Torres’ overall first-look deal — after just two seasons. Bernardo Velasco, Cassandra Ciangherotti, José Pablo Minor. River L. Ramirez Giannina Fruttero are also part of the cast.
Even though the Latinx community makes up 19% of the population, Latino representation on screen is just at 6%, according to 2021 Nielsen data.
Heading down to The Pynk is what most audiences do every Tuesday during the “P-Valley” season, which picked up 4.5 million viewers in its Season 2 premiere. The Katori Hall-created show takes place at a strip club in the Mississippi Delta, where dancers of diverse backgrounds hustle to make ends meet, fund their entrepreneurial endeavors and for dancer, escape a troubled past. The cast includes Elarica Johnson, Nicco Annan, Brandee Evans, J. Alphonse Nicholson, Tyler Lepley, Harriet D. Foy, Loretta Devine, Parker Sawyers, Morocco Omari and more.
“Pachinko” (Apple TV+)
The TV adaptation of the New York Times Bestseller “Pachinko” was created by Soo Hugh, and chronicles the journey of a Korean immigrant family across four generations as they travel from their homeland to in an effort of survival. The cast includes Lee Min-ho, Kim Min-ha, Noh Sang-hyun, Jin Ha, Jun Eun-chae, Youn Yuh-jung, Anna Sawai and more. It was nominated for a Primetime Emmy award and won Best International Production at the AAFCA TV Awards.
Asian representation across, broadcast, cable and SVOD is 4.6%.
“Legendary” (HBO Max)
In this one-hour reality competition series, vogue dancers represented their houses and battled it out on the stage, going against one another in nine balls that were judged on the basis of fashion, style and uniqueness. At the end, the winning house would leave with $100,000. Despite its recent cancellation by HBO Max on Dec. 6, the series provided a platform for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ talent. The judges on the Emmy award-winning show included Leiomy Maldonado, Law Roach, Jameela Jamil and Keke Palmer, with the show’s host being Dashaun Wesley. Megan Thee Stallion served as a judge on the first two seasons.
“Mo,” created by the show’s lead, Mohammed “Mo” Amer, details the life happenings and challenges of Mo Najjar, a Palestinian refugee who is on a mission to obtain U.S. citizenship while taking up asylum in Texas. The series, which made its premiere on Netflix back in August 2022, is the first show in America that was created by and stars a Palestinian with a Palestinian family at the center. The cast also includes Teresa Ruiz, Omar Elba, Farah Bsieso, Tobe Nwigwe, Cherien Dabis, Lee Eddy and more.
What started as a viral dramatic reimagining of the sitcom “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” has turned into a reboot that is now Peacock’s most-streamed series to date. “Bel-Air” keeps the classic tale of a West Philly who heads to Beverly Hills in an effort to escape troubles back home. However, the new version explores heavier themes and is embedded with elements of today’s societal issues. The cast includes Jabari Banks, Coco Jones, Olly Sholotan, Adrian Holmes, Cassandra Freeman, Akira Akbar, Jimmy Akingbola, Simone Joy Jones and more. The series was created by Morgan Cooper.
“Lopez vs. Lopez” (NBC/Peacock)
A formerly estranged father and daughter — George and Mayan — live together and work through family dysfunction, rebuilding their relationship and the challenges that come with fulfilling lost time. The sitcom “Lopez vs. Lopez” airs on NBC and Peacock every Friday. “Lopez vs. Lopez” was co-created by George Lopez, Mayan Lopez and Debby Wolfe, who also serves as showrunner.
“Gracie’s Corner” (YouTube)
During the pandemic, this educational and multicultural YouTube series blew up househousolds and recently pulled in 77 million YouTube views this past July, up 7.2 million views since February. The animated sing-a-long series features an adolescent Black girl named Gracie who educates young viewers on a variety of topics, including their numbers, ABCs or loving their natural hair. The series was created by Javoris Hollingsworth and Arlene Gordon-Hollingsworth and is based on their their 10-year-old daughter Graceyn “Gracie” Hollingsworth, who voices the lead the character Gracie.
“Reasonable Doubt” (ABC and Hulu)
“Reasonable Doubt” is a legal drama created by showrunner Raamla Mohamed about Jax Stewart, a brillant and fearless defense attorney who juggles work, family and friends and a complicated personal life. The show captured 1.8 million viewers in ABC’s special airing of the pilot. The cast includes Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michael Ealy, McKinley Freeman, Sean Patrick Thomas, Pauletta Washington, Shannon Kane, Angela Grovey, Tim Jo and more. The show is executive produced Kerry Washington and Larry Wilmore, Mohamed and Pilar Savone.
“Atlanta” began its fourth and final season on FX on Sept. 15. The comedy, which was created by actor and musician Donald Glover, tells the story of a college dropout and music manager who works to get his rapper cousin cemented in the Atlanta Hip Hop scene. The cast includes Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, LaKeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz and more.
“Power Book II: Ghost”
Coming right off its Season 2 success, “Power Book II: Ghost” — a sequel to the massively successful Starz series, “Power” — just confirmed it will be returning for a Season 3. “Power Book II: Ghost” picks up with Tariq St. Patrick as he navigates his new life after closing the chapter on his father’s legacy. The series debuted as the most-watched premiere in Starz history with 3.3 million views. The cast includes Michael Rainey Jr., Naturi Naughton, Paige Hurd, Alix Lapri, Joseph Sikora, Woody McClain, Mary J. Blige and more.