Kids online TV featuring POC and non-US cultures.
March 2, 2019 10:43 PM   Subscribe

Having watched ‘The Boy Who Harness The Wind’ and ‘Kevin Hart’s Guide To Black History’, I want to keep the ball rolling. Can you recommend other things I can watch online that are kid appropriate and center non-white people or non-US areas of the world? This is for kids under ten, so a couple swear words are ok, but too much violence or scary stuff is not. Kissing: ok. Sexual violence: nope nope nope.
posted by bq to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

The Eagle Huntress
posted by charmedimsure at 11:55 PM on March 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Dragon Prince has POC characters, with bonus representation for queer people and people with disabilities.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:40 AM on March 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

The 00s family sitcom Everybody Hates Chris. It's also genuinely a funny show.
posted by rue72 at 6:51 AM on March 3, 2019

akeelah and the bee
posted by brujita at 7:41 AM on March 3, 2019

Are you looking for documentary/nonfiction content specifically, like the examples you give, or also fictional stories?
posted by gideonfrog at 7:41 AM on March 3, 2019

Disney’s Andi Mack and ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat.
posted by bradf at 7:43 AM on March 3, 2019

Either fiction or nonfiction but I’d prefer live-action to animated.
posted by bq at 8:00 AM on March 3, 2019

It doesn't cover non-US locations, but Reading Rainbow is timeless and easy to find.
posted by eotvos at 9:21 AM on March 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

The Netflix animated Carmen Sandiego has been getting good reviews. More info..
posted by gudrun at 12:20 PM on March 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

John Leguizamo has done a number of filmed theater pieces which are worthy of attention, IMO. I'm not sure where to watch any of them, but I do recommend them.
posted by hippybear at 1:00 PM on March 3, 2019

We love:
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (netflix and amazon prime)
any of the Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations or Parts Unknown (netflix and amazon)
Sriracha (amazon prime)
Rick Steve's Europe (amazon prime, seasons 5 onward)
Flavorful Origins (netflix)
Ugly Delicious (netflix)

Period. End of a Sentence (Netflix - kind of more adult themed, deals with menstration, but it's really good. My 10yo liked it)
posted by alathia at 2:25 PM on March 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've been loving One Day at a Time on Netflix. Family sitcom focusing on poor Cuban family in LA. The kids are great, though it's probably best for kids 11+ to get the jokes.

Avatar from Nickelodeon was great for this.
posted by thelastpolarbear at 3:48 PM on March 3, 2019

Odd Squad is a silly-sweet math-focused show that is probably a bit too young for your group but the main kids are POC and it's a non-remarked upon and very diverse cast.

The Who Was show on Netflix is much like Kevin Hart's Black History, and while mostly US-focused, it's pretty diverse and has a strong focus on women and POC people with race and gender-blind casting.

Nailed It has the wonderful Nicole Byer hosting and is both kid-friendly, encouraging of mistakes and very often has diverse contestants. I would also try Gordon Ramsey's MasterChef for Kids cooking show - he had a pretty diverse contestant pool and the kids came from quite a way around.

Alexa and Katie is maybe a bit too old but has a Chinese-White girl as the main character with a fairly diverse cast, and the storyline is pretty decent (best friends handling a cancer diagnosis, age-appropriate school things)

My kid really really loved Avatar, and the live-action show is coming up soon. It is remarkable for being a very distinct type of cartoon in itself, not regular anime nor a western cartoon. It is very much rooted in multiple Asian cultures.

Depending on how old are your kids are and their tolerance for subtitles, Goblin the K-drama soap opera was a Big Hit in my household and my then six year old watched along with us and enjoyed the episodes. There are some minor creepy moments and it is super romantic sad at points, but it is not gory or sexy.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a big hit too. I have to explain some of the jokes or say "nope, that's too adult for you to understand now" but she is adores Rosa and Terry. Ditto for Queer Eye which I watch alongside with her.

Project Runway was too mean for my kids. The Great British Sewing Bee is much kinder and as diverse, and of course you have all the seasons of the Great British Bake Off to enjoy!

Call the Midwife is surprisingly diverse because it's set in an immigrant dockyard neighbour in the UK, but you need to either screen ahead if your kids are sensitive or be prepared to talk about tough subjects with kids. My daughter is obsessed with it.

Project MC2 has a limited run but my kid loved it and even went for the associated books and science kits. They're basically mini-spies who mcguyver their way out of comic book plots. Really fun and enough actual scientific method and friendship to make me happy per episode, with a diverse cast.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 11:30 PM on March 3, 2019

Queen of Katwe!
posted by ChuraChura at 8:46 AM on March 4, 2019

Surprised to not see Doc McStuffins make the list yet, available on Hulu and Disney Online.
posted by hanov3r at 11:14 AM on March 4, 2019

For younger kids, Let's Go Luna is a new PBS Kids show (by Joe Murray, creator of Rocko's Modern Life). Note that characters' ethnic diversity is not coded by physical markers like skin tone--because the characters are all animals (just like in Rocko's Modern Life). But the characters visit locations all over the world and learn about different locales and cultures. The show does a pretty good job of this--they were in Cairo for multiple episodes and learned about the Nile, the Pyramids, Hieroglyphs, etc--but also made a point of underscoring the fact that despite ancient roots, Cairo is a modern city, and Egypt has a vibrant modern culture.

It's just a cute little show about some kids whose parents are in a traveling circus, and their best friend is the moon. There's singing, and there are goofy puns, and they make new friends wherever they go.
posted by duffell at 5:28 AM on March 6, 2019

Oh! And all the episodes are available for free online, and several are available at any given time on the PBS Kids app.
posted by duffell at 5:30 AM on March 6, 2019

I really like Avatar: The Last Airbender but it does have violence and some scary parts because it's set during wartime -- I wrote a longer comment in the past about some reservations / things to know in advance before watching ATLA with younger kids. (You might find more suggestions in that thread.)

I also liked the Netflix show Free Rein (page on wikipedia). It's a show I would have loved to have seen as a young kid and as a teen. It's about Zoe, an American teenager who goes with her mom and little sister to visit her grandpa (and her mom's old house) on an island off of England (at least a portion is filmed in Anglesey, Wales). There just happen to be stables nearby and she just happens to have a special connection with an unruly horse called Raven (yes, Raven). Zoe has an American dad who's black, and a British mom who's biracial (grandpa is white; I believe her late grandma was black).

It was just so refreshing to see the protagonist as a POC. Zoe's kind, likes to read, loves her family (she and her sister support each other and they have a good relationship with their parents and grandpa). She makes friends quickly with a couple of the other girls who ride at the stables. But of course she's a teen with teen friends, and they make fairly impulsive or unsurprising and/or sometimes frustratingly teen decisions (as with most shows featuring kids, one of the biggest suspensions of disbelief was ignoring the issue of kids seemingly running things they shouldn't be running, and the questions 'Where are all of the other kids' parents? Where are all the other adults?'). I'm not familiar with horses so I have no idea how accurate the horseriding/portrayals are.

There will be familiar tropes/plot points for older folks but again, it's different because the POV is from a POC. There are a few scary points, but all resolved for the most part. I would say it's much more gentler than ATLA. There are some things that weren't addressed as well as I'd like (Spoilers: There is a storyline involving one of the boys -- no violence, but he tries to cheat on his girlfriend and I thought it could have been handled much better. And another villain in the second season tries to do something incredibly unethical/dangerous to a horse, but there doesn't seem to be any real consequences for him iirc).

I'd say it's very family friendly. Engaging enough for both kids and adults. For adults, I'd say don't watch for the plot (except maybe grin at the convenient or odd plot points) -- watch for the overall feel-good messaging, and the stunning scenery! With lovely horses running on the beach for instance. Instead of car chases, there's a bunch of kids riding horses! (Raven is really cool but my favorite horse on the show is Bob. Yes, Bob.) The kids try to stop horse thieves and solve puzzles to get to a treasure. And I'll just say again how fantastic it is to see POC as the lead character/family of a show like this.

There are two seasons so far, and two holiday specials (Christmas and Valentine's Day, but they don't include her mom or sister). I recommend starting with the first season, which is my favorite.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 7:18 PM on March 31, 2019

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