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From HBO’s Euphoria and Gossip Girl reboot to Netflix’s Blood and Water, a new wave of teen dramas are putting Black girls front and center.

Nov 09 2021

From HBO’s Euphoria and Gossip Girl reboot to Netflix’s Blood and Water, a new wave of teen dramas are putting Black girls front and center. For years, teen protagonists like Buffy, Blair, Serena, and Veronica Mars dominated the small screen, while characters of color were often pushed to the sidelines. But new series are “riding a wave of teen TV told from the oft-ignored point of view of Black girls,” and while the shift isn’t seismic yet, it’s being felt by those behind the scenes and viewers at home. Zendaya’s Rue on Euphoria focuses on the character’s drug addiction recovery, while the Gossip Girl reboot and Netflix’s South African drama Blood and Water centers on fictional sisters Julien and Zoya (Jordan Alexander and Whitney Peak) and Puleng and Fikile (Ama Qamata and Khosi Ngema). Blood and Water’s creator Nosipho Dumisa-Ngoasheng says that even in a majority-Black country, her show is “breaking new ground.” When it debuted last year, it was the first South African show to break into Netflix’s Top 10 list in the U.S. YPulse’s Representation in Action trend research found that 61% and 36% of 13-39-year-old Black consumers feel that Netflix and HBO / HBO Max offer entertainment that is inclusive and diverse, respectively. Our trend data also found that 81% of 13-39-year-old Black consumers wish they saw more people of their race in TV shows / movies, and according to one developmental psychologist, young Black audiences are “looking to see themselves” in the media they consume, which can help them navigate their identity and relationships in the real-world. (The Washington Post)