To quote the great show Hamilton Musical: “Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.” On the latest Cinema in Noir, we chatted about how it’s almost an embarrassment of riches with the amount of quality television that is being produced. And many of these amazing series feature women of color in prominent roles. 2016 marks my 5th year doing my year-end seven sistas post and this year it was particularly hard narrowing this list to seven. But here they are, my seven sistas of television, 2016.
1. Erica Ash as “M-Chuck” on Survivor’s Remorse and “Bridgette” on The Real Husbands of HollywoodErica Ash is one of the most underrated women working in television. She pulls double duty bringing the drama on Survivor’s Remorse and hilariously goes toe to toe with Kevin Hart on the Real Husbands of Hollywood. Erica was included in my Seven Sistas of 2015 last year as an honorable mention. In 2016 she was a shining star.
2. Kylie Bunbury as “Ginny Baker” on PitchPitch is a show about being the first. But this isn’t my first time raving about it’s star, Kylie Bunbury. Back in 2013, I fell in love with Kylie in the now defunct series Twisted. Today she portrays the first woman signed to a major league baseball team. And Kylie does so with the same strength and vulnerability that first caught my attention.
3. Michaela Coel as “Tracey” on Chewing GumI heard about the series Chewing Gum for the first time a couple of months ago. At the time, I added it to the never-ending-Netflix-queue and moved on. When I finally watched Chewing Gum this week I literally laughed the entire time. Michaela Coel is the quirky black girl icon we have been clamoring for.
4. Issa Rae as “Issa” on InsecureIssa Rae was a Hollywood MVP before Hollywood knew her name. I first fell in love with her work back in 2011 when she released her web series Awkward Black Girl. Fast-forward to 2016 and Issa is bringing the same unique perspective and fresh voice that the world deserves to the masses via Insecure.
5. Jurnee Smollett as “Rosalee” on UndergroundJurnee Smollett has been delivering stand out performances for over almost 20 years. In Underground she portrays Rosalee, a house slave turned runaway with the same dignity, strength, and badassery that we have come to expect from her performances.
6. Lorraine Toussaint as “Donna Rosewood” on Rosewood
Yall know how much I love me some Lorraine Toussaint. It is well documented. This season, I was ecstatic that her character on Rosewood got a storyline worthy of her amazing talent. And in true Lorraine form, she delivered an amazing performance.
7. Rutina Wesley as “Nova Bordelon” on Queen SugarIt is a revelation to watch Rutina Wesley on screen. As Novalee, she embodies the spirit of a loving sister, a loyal friend, and fierce protector. Rutina’s portrayal of the perfectly imperfect Nova is one of the best of 2016.
I could go on and on, but yall already know!
Who would you put on you Seven Sistas of Television, 2016 list?