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Melanin on the Max: HBO Max to feature Ava, Issa and Mindy

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

Streaming service HBO Max, set to launch on May 27th, will be home to well known hits like Friends and Game of Thrones. Have no fear Boss People, your $14.99 a month will get you more than just Rachel, Ross and dragons.

With multicultural consumers streaming content more than ever, HBO Max is investing in shows featuring diverse talent both in front of and behind the screen. Ava Duvernay, Issa Rae, Danai Gurira, Mindy Kaling and Danie Fernandez are just some of the talented showrunners bringing new stories to life in the coming months.

Here are some of the titles I am looking forward to. Will be interesting to see how much marketing muscle HBO Max will flex for their multicultural titles.

The Ho's

Docuseries inspired by Crazy Rich Asians followingthe over-the-top world of the real life Houston Ho’s, a Vietnamese immigrant family who built a multi-million dollar bank, a real estate development company and a new generation in America.


Limited series adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s bestselling novel of the sane name starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o in the lead role. Playwright and fellow Black Panther co-star Danai Gurira wrote the pilot and will serve as showrunner for the series.

Vegas High

Coming-of-age period drama pilot from writer Sarah-Raquel Jimenez and starring new comer Raegan Rozas. Vegas High is inspired by Jimenez’s own experience. It is a 1990s-set coming-of-age story about Laura (Rozas), a girl who’s caught between two worlds: the fast-paced lifestyle of Las Vegas and her strong Mormon faith and community. Coolio also joins the cast as a a Las Vegas businessman.

Rap Sh*t

Original scripted comedy from Issa Rae that will explore the music business in Miami through the eyes of three women – an upstart Hip Hop duo and their hustler manager.

The series will be executive produced by Rae and Montrel McKay for Issa Rae Productions.

College Girls

Mindy Kaling is executive producing this comedy series that will follow three college freshman roommates at a university in Vermont.


From director and executive producer Ava Duvernay and starring Rosario Dawson based on the DC comic book series from Brian Wood. The series takes place in the near future where  America is embroiled in a bitter civil war, leaving Manhattan a demilitarized zone (DMZ – hence the title of the series), destroyed and isolated from the rest of the world.


New reimagined seasons from creator Aaron McGruder. The new episodes will follow Robert "Granddad" Freeman and his grandsons Huey and Riley. They move to the Maryland suburbs but discover their community has been taken over by Uncle Ruckus and a neo-fascist regime.

Bobbie Sue

Feature film directed by Charles Stone III and starring Gina Rodriguez. Pic will follow Bobbie Sue, who after being raised among four rowdy brothers in a blue-collar neighborhood, is a scrappy, headstrong young lawyer who lands a career-making case with an upper crust law firm, only to realize she’s been hired for optics and not her expertise.

1% Happy

Comedy executive produced by and starring Dani Fernandez about a daughter and her estranged father. She moves back in with her dad and attends weekly group therapy sessions “with a class of oddballs” as she figures out her next steps forward. On top of her following her life, it’ll also examine the healthcare system in the United States. Roy Wood Jr will also be an executive producer.

On The Record

The documentary presents the story of music executive Drew Dixon as she grapples with her decision to become one of the first women of color, in the wake of #MeToo, to come forward and publicly accuse hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons of sexual assault.


High School dramedy created by 18-year old Zelda Barnz and her father Daniel Barnz. The series follows a group of high school students whose exploration of modern sexuality tests deeply entrenched beliefs about life, love and the nature of family in their conservative community. Generation’s ensemble cast includes Nathanya Alexander, Chloe East, Nava Mau, Lukita Maxwell, Haley Sanchez, Uly Schlesinger, Sam Trammell, Chase Sui Wonders with Justice Smith and Martha Plimpton.

Station Eleven

Hiro Murai directs the postapocalyptic limited series based on Emily St John Mandel's international bestseller. It tells the stories of survivors of a devastating flu as they attempt to rebuild and reimagine the world anew while holding on to the best of what’s been lost. Nabhaan Rizwan will play Frank Chaudhary, a successful war correspondent, who is struggling with his own demons when the flu strikes.

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