11 good Netflix teen shows with Black leads: All American and more

All American - Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved
All American - Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved /
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All American — “Stakes Is High” — Image Number: ALA215a_0160b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Chelsea Tavares as Patience and Bre – Z as Coop — Photo: Tina Thorpe/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved /

Teen shows on Netflix with Black leads

Happy February and Black History Month, Netflix Lifers! While we’re sure some of you have your documentaries queued for the month, we also want to remind you that every day is a perfect day for tuning into Black content and/or content with Black leads (there is a difference) and that includes teen shows.

Content geared toward teens, on television in particular, has been formative for the 13-18-year-old demographic for over half a century. At this point in media history, you’d think that we’d have an abundance of content for those of all walks of life but that’s not how structural racism, gender inequality, or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or disability works. However, that’s not to say there isn’t content out there. There is, it just may be harder to find.

We’ve already established that Netflix is the king of teen programming and, as such, the streamer is generally where you can find more diverse content than what may be available on network television for teens. But that doesn’t mean Netflix shouldn’t be pushed to provide more content for their non-white, non-cis, non-heterosexual, and non-able bodied viewers.

While we were able to compile 11 shows featuring Black leads for this post, it’s our hope that in the following years this list of series can grow and diversify not only in walks of life but also in genre and Netflix originals. But for now, here are teen shows on Netflix with Black leads that cover sitcoms, fantasies, and contemporary dramas starting with the football drama All American!

Teen shows with Black leads: All American

Rated TV-14

Based on the life of professional football player Spencer Paysinger, All American is a CW show that follows student-athlete Spencer James’ (Daniel Ezra) high school football career.

Hailing from South Central Los Angeles, Spencer has been making his name at Crenshaw High as a wide receiver but when he’s offered a scholarship to attend Beverly Hills High, and play for their team, his life takes an unexpected turn. Now under the direction of coach Billy Baker (Taye Diggs), a man whose history with his mother and estranged father is initially hidden from him, Spencer’s world is split between the privileged lives and entitlement of his new teammates and the community he calls his home.

All American is a teen football drama that also deals with issues of gang violence, discrimination, racism, substance abuse, infidelity, homophobia, classism, and mental health.

The series is known for its emphasis on friendship, community engagement, teamwork, and mentorship whilst still embracing the ups and downs of teenage life and romance.

Seasons 1 and 2 of All American are available to stream. Season 3 is currently airing on The CW Mondays at 8 pm.