At long last, Girlfriends has finally found a home on a streaming service.
And it’s obvious that fans have been jonesing for the show as it immediately landed on Netflix’s Top 10 list and has stayed there since all eight seasons dropped on September 11.
Most white Millennials and Gen-Zers were either too young when the show first premiered or unaware of its existence on the former UPN network (later acquired by the CW). So this is the perfect chance to introduce the show to a whole new audience.
For those who have never seen it, Girlfriends focuses on four female friends (plus their one guy friends and honorary “girlfriend”) in their late 20s/early 30s as they try to navigate their careers, friendships, relationships, and everything in between.
But unlike typically white shows of the same nature (Friends, Sex and the City), Girlfriends actually covers some serious topics since the crew faces a whole different set of obstacles just for being Black women in America.
Throughout eight seasons, Girlfriends tackles colorism, racial profiling, cultural appropriation, HIV/AIDS, health issues that particularly affect Black women, therapy, mental health, and so much more. And they somehow manage to do it without seeming like an after-school special.
But perhaps the best part is that the show actually lets Black women speak for themselves. In addition to the four Black female leads, the show was created by a Black woman (Mara Brock Akil) and hired Black female writers and directors (Debbie Allen even directed a few episodes!).
So often Black women have their agency stolen from them by white people who decide to speak on their behalf and tell their stories for them. But Girlfriends puts Black women in the driver’s seat.
As white people in this country start to open their eyes to the systemic racism that has always existed in America, we all need to do a whole lot more listening.
Unfortunately, some white folks, especially white celebrities, feel the need to say something, say anything so they can seem like a supportive ally. But they sometimes do so without listening and learning (case-in-point: Lili Reinhart).
Girlfriends is a great way to do that and — just as importantly — it’s an all-around terrific show. It has a perfect cast, great writing (with the exception of some overt homophobia), and is an overall comforting show.
Joan, Toni, Maya, and Lynn will instantly become your virtual besties as you watch them support each other, fight, reconcile, grow, adapt, and do everything in between. You definitely won’t regret adding it to your watchlist.