I am so excited about two new television shows beginning this month. I always try to support Black shows, since many of us are old enough to remember the dearth of shows on television or the ways in which networks would pin popular Black television shows against one another and show two popular Black shows at the same time on competing networks. Well, on July 24 and July 31, two new shows will arrive on Comedy Central and the IFC Channel, and I couldn’t be happier. It is imperative we support shows created, written, produced and starring Black artists in order to ensure diverse representation of the Black experience.
The first show to arrive on July 24 is a new scripted series on Comedy Central entitled, “South Side.” Some of you may be familiar with the writers Bashir Salahuddin (“GLOW,” “Snatched”) and Diallo Riddle (“Marlon,” “Rise”), both alums from “The Jimmy Fallon Show.” “South Side” follows two friends who just graduated from community college, while they, their friends and their co-workers all strive to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. In addition to Salahuddin and Riddle starring in the series, first season guest stars include Lil Rel Howery, Nathaniel “Earthquake” Stroman, Jeff Tweedy, LisaRaye McCoy, Kel Mitchell and Ed Lover.
The second show to arrive on July 31 on IFC Channel is “Sherman’s Showcase,” a variety sketch series also created by and starring Riddle and Salahuddin and executive produced by John Legend’s Get Lifted Film Co. and RadicalMedia. The show is described as “drawing inspiration from dance/variety shows ‘Solid Gold,’ ‘Soul Train’ and ‘Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,’ each episode of ‘Sherman’s Showcase’ is hosted by Sherman McDaniels (Salahuddin) as he takes viewers through time via music and comedy drawn from the 40-year library of a legendary (but fictional) musical variety show. Whether it’s a questionably-attired funk super group in the 1970s, an up-and-coming MC in the 1980s or an R&B diva from the 1990s, ‘Sherman’s Showcase’ has it all: music, comedy, gameshow segments, political roundtables, commercial parodies, breakout hits destined to climb the charts, a dancing robot and a legendary host who’s been there from the beginning.” Some of the guest stars in the first season are Common, Morris Day, Tiffany Haddish, Lil Rel Howery, Quincy Jones, John Legend, Ne-Yo, Mario Van Peebles, Damon Wayans Jr., Marlon Wayans and more.
Riddle and Salahuddin met in college and have been creating comedy ever since. They are known for their popular “Slow Jam the News” and “The History of Rap” segments with Jimmy Fallon, and have now created two must-see shows. So tune in. The series “South Side” will premiere Wednesday, July 24, at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central and “Sherman’s Showcase” series premieres Wednesday, July 31, at 10 p.m. only on IFC.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” the co-host of the new podcast FAQ-NYC, and the host of The Aftermath and The Counter on Ozy.com.