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Black women smashed it on TV in 2021 and it was beautiful to see – Fashionstyle Nigeria

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Selling Tampa cast

Selling Tampa cast

Black women were thriving on TV in 2021 (Picture: Netflix)

When it comes to end of year lists, we naturally focus on the most shocking moments because, let’s face it, who doesn’t want to relive every frame of Meghan and Harry’s bombshell Oprah interview (well, maybe the Royal family) or dissect every step of the unexpected but glorious Bennifer reunion. 

Those are the moments that kept us all entertained, laughing and talking over the past 12 months, but t. are also other powerful moments that deserve to be acknowledged. 

Notably, it hasn’t escaped me that Black women saw wins in almost every corner of TV in 2021. 

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Off the back of 2020 – which, aside from being the year we were unfortunately met with the dreaded C-word, was also the year of the racial uprising – I wondered what this year would look like in regards to representation and diversity in entertainment. 

Would all the discussions about racism and inclusion actually have an impact, or was it just a social media trend? 

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Ultimately, did the entertainment industry deliver what was promised in terms of diversity, or was it all just lip service? 

Nothing’s perfect of course but we did see some promising signs we’re heading in the right direction for now, at least. 

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Selling Tampa poster

Selling Tampa poster

We were introduced to the women of Selling Tampa (Picture: Netflix)

AJ Odudu on Strictly Come Dancing

AJ Odudu on Strictly Come Dancing

AJ Odudu brought the magic every week on Strictly Come Dancing (Picture: BBC)

One of my favourite moments in 2021 for Black women was Zeze Millz and Yinka Bokinni landing their very own debate show. It followed Channel 4’s groundbreaking initiative, Black To Front, which saw the station completely taken over by Black talent both in front and behind the screen with even its adverts featuring predominantly Black people. 

It was the first time this had happened in British TV but, even better, Channel 4 made good on their word to ensure it wasn’t just a one day thing. One of their first stops in actioning this was positioning Zeze and Yinka at the forefront of their own debate show Unapologetic, which would confront uncomfortable subjects involving racism, Black culture, identity and colourism head-on. 

Sure, Unapologetic had a couple of missteps along the way – notably an awkward interview with White Yardie w. perhaps the questions surrounding his Jamaican identity weren’t handled in the best way – but that’s the beauty of teething problems; you stumble across them and learn from it to make the next go better. 

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If Unapologetic is greenlit for a second series, Zeze and Yinka will no doubt build on the good and bad from series one but, even if it isn’t, they were two Black women who were able to talk about the issues that are often taboo on a very prominent platform. 

Zeze Millz and Yinka Bokinni on Unapologetic

Zeze Millz and Yinka Bokinni on Unapologetic

Yinka Bokinni (l) and Zeze Millz were Unapologetic and proud (Picture: Channel 4)

When I spoke to Yinka before the programme was commissioned for a full series, she explained that Unapologetic was important to her personally as it saw two women of colour ‘celebrating and raising each other up’. 

That sounds a bit like the Netflix series Selling Tampa, which sees strong Black women uniting in the workplace and bossing it (aside from the few instances they got into scathing arguments – life is about balance after all). 

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A spin-off of the hugely popular Selling Sunset, the Tampa series follows an all-Black female cast on their mission to make a name for themselves in Florida’s luxury real estate market. As a huge fan of Selling Sunset, the idea of an all-Black version was beyond exciting and having just binged the Tampa instalment, it was worth the wait. 

So many times on guilty pleasure-style reality shows, Black women aren’t often portrayed in the best light or even in professional spaces. It was refreshing to see conversations about work and money, and even when the drama flared up, much of it was still related to the business making it different from so many other reality series on offer. 

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Nadiah Adu-Gyiamfi on Walk The Line

Nadiah Adu-Gyiamfi on Walk The Line

Nadiah Adu-Gyiamfi won the first series of Walk The Line (Picture: ITV)

Selling Tampa wasn’t the only series that gave Black women a platform on TV as Amazon Prime Video introduced us to Harlem, a 10-part comedy series that has drawn comparisons to Sex And The City, only with a cast led entirely by women of colour. It’s funny, daring, uplifting and gives Black women visibility in the TV landscape. 

Back in the UK, many of us found pleasure in watching AJ Odudu’s emotional journey on Strictly Come Dancing. Partnered up with professional dancer Kai Widdrington, the TV presenter delivered week on week and was among one of the favourites to scoop the Glitterball Trophy until she was forced to pull out due to injury a day from the final. 

Regardless, her taking part and getting so far in the competition was a win in itself. 

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Also winning in reality TV was Walk The Line contestant Nadiah Adu-Gyiamfi, who walked away with the staggering £500,000 prize money after blessing us with her powerful vocals. 

It’s been empowering to watch all of these women make bold moves in the TV industry and I just hope that next year, when we’re compiling all those fun end of year lists, we have even more groundbreaking TV moments involving the Black community to celebrate.

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MORE : Selling Tampa cast: Meet the women of Allure Realty as Selling Sunset spin-off debuts on Netflix


MORE : Walk The Line: Nadiah Adu-Gyiamfi crowned champion as she takes home £500,000

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MORE : Selling Tampa’s Sharelle Rosado recalls mad dash for cameras to capture pregnancy bombshell

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