Entertainment | March 6th, 2024

Black Television Shows Gone Too Soon

By: Micah Barkley
Black Television Shows Gone Too Soon

Black-led Television shows have contributed abundantly to the cultural fabric of the entertainment industry as a whole. Despite their critical acclaim and devoted fan communities, several shows have met an unhappy end: cancellation.

From pioneering dramas to inventive comedy, the premature cancellation of these programs not only jeopardizes the careers of outstanding actors and creators but also raises concerns about industry representation and diversity. 

Although there may be a current shortage of Black-led television shows, their memories have pioneered multiple cultural notions that will live on forever and deserve recognition.

Here’s a list of five popular Black television shows that ended too early:

Rap Sh!t

Poster for “Rap Sh!t” on MAX || Photo Courtesy: IMDb

Issa Rae, most known for her work on the show “Insecure,” produced the television series “Rap Sh!t.” The series, which launched on HBO Max, follows a female rap group from Miami as they negotiate the music industry and strive for success.

The show revolves around two estranged high school friends, Mia and Shawna, who reunite because of a mutual love of music and a desire to make it big in the rap industry. Mia and Shawna embarked on a journey with their diverse circle of pals, including a flamboyant hustler and a socially concerned writer, to produce music that reflects their lives and challenges the current quo.

 “Rap Sh!t” dove into issues surrounding friendship, identity, creativity, and overcoming obstacles to pursue one’s aspirations. 

Many people enjoyed the show and mourned its untimely loss, as it was canceled after only two seasons. 

Complex displayed many social media posts in response to the show’s cancellation, showing their disappointment with the continuous cancellation of Black shows.  

Many comments included, “Stop Canceling black TV Shows” and “HBO Max and all y’all networks canceling all the Black shows better straighten up and fly right! We’ve had enough, Rap [Sh!t] deserved another season. Who’s next?”.

The Boondocks

Poster for “The Boondocks” on Adult Swim

“The Boondocks” is an animated television series developed by Aaron McGruder based on his comic strip of the same title. The show first aired on Adult Swim, then on other networks, and it follows the Freeman family as they relocate from Chicago’s South Side to Woodcrest, a primarily white, affluent suburb. 

“The Boondocks” is recognized for its biting social and political satire, which covers a wide range of topics, including racism, inequality, celebrity culture, and politics. The series’ irreverent humor and thought-provoking stories sharply criticize contemporary American society and culture. In addition to the Freemans, the show has a colorful ensemble of characters, including Uncle Ruckus, a self-hating black man who espouses racist ideas, and many celebrities and public figures who are frequently mimicked or satirized.

Phillip Adams, a student at  Florida A&M University, explained his sorrow for the show’s ending. “Once we grew up, we could understand how iconic the show truly was for its time. Now it’s gone,” he said.

On Feb. 22, 2022, it was revealed that the show would be discontinued. In a Reddit post, the voice actor of the character Uncle Ruckus explained why the show was canceled.

“It’s a shame, really,” they said. “Garry Williams [Uncle Ruckus] confirmed that the show was canceled because production was moving too slow.”

Raising Dion


Poster for “Raising Dion” on Netflix || Photo Courtesy: IMDb

Dennis Liu’s comic book and short film “Raising Dion” were the basis for the sci-fi, fantasy drama television series that debuted on Netflix. The show follows Nicole Reese, a widowed single mother, as she faces the obstacles of raising her young son, Dion, who has supernatural talents.

“Raising Dion” speaks on family, identity, friendship, and the conflict between good and evil. It combines science fiction and superhero tropes with heartfelt storytelling, concentrating on the love between mother and son as they confront incredible obstacles together.

Third-year criminal justice student Jordyn Bew truly misses the show and wishes another season may somehow be in the works.

“This was one of the few shows I truly enjoyed,” Bew said. “I hope they are going to renew it eventually. It had too much potential to waste.”

The series was praised for its varied cast, engaging characters, and inventive premise. It offers a novel twist on the superhero genre, focusing on a young kid who must traverse the intricacies of boyhood while struggling with his burgeoning abilities. The series was canceled after two seasons, which many online said was well deserved.

“No surprise whatsoever,” one Reddit user said.”Season one was pretty good, but man, was season two a letdown. The writing, especially in the last two episodes, was [really] terrible.”  

The Carmichael Show


Poster for “The Carmichael Show” on NBC

“The Carmichael Show” was a sitcom developed by comedian Jerrod Carmichael, who also appeared in it. The show aired on NBC and lasted three seasons, from 2015 to 2017. It was renowned for thoroughly examining social and political themes within a standard multi-camera sitcom format.

Each episode of “The Carmichael Show” focused on a different contemporary problem, such as gun control, race relations, religion, and sexuality. The show’s approach was frequently confrontational and unrepentant, using humor to explore delicate issues and create serious discussions.

The show was canceled on June 30, 2017, after three seasons. In an exclusive interview by The Hollywood Reporter, NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke explained that there was a mutual decision that the show needed to end, mainly because of the lack of growth in numbers.