Illustration by Isha Khanzode.

Film: Sing Street (2016)

If you liked La La Land, try watching Sing Street. Set in 1980s Ireland, the film follows a teenage boy as he starts a band for the sole purpose of impressing a girl. As Duran Duran plays in the background, the characters navigate divorce, bullying, and adolescence. I felt that Sing Street captured what it’s like to be a teenager in any time period; the longing for freedom mixed with the routines of childhood. Besides being dreamy and well-styled, the world of Sing Street also has amazing original music that takes center stage. It gets better each time I watch it, but I still wish I could be sitting in the theater again, as the opening credits played for the first time. —Lennon Walter

TV Show: Insecure (HBO, 2016-)

Issa Rae’s Insecure presents all of the joys, discomforts, and sometimes frustrating everyday occurrences that come with being a black woman in modern America. We’re shown a black struggle that isn’t often represented in film and television; not one of poverty or life-or-death hardship, not a rags to riches hustle; but rather, how difficult it can be to exist as a middle-class black woman in a white world. We see every little truth from the microagressions that come with rocking your natural texture, to the burden of constantly feeling like you have to defy the “loud black woman” stereotype in the workplace. But the show isn’t necessarily political—it simply shows us things we’re not used to seeing, and broaches topics many of people of color may have thought were “just us.” Beyond the political, Insecure is a great show about trying to get by in your 20s. Its message feels so relatable. No matter how successful or competent we may seem on the inside, we’re all a little bit insecure. —Micha Frazer-Carroll

Web Series: How to Not (Vimeo, 2016-)

If you’re looking for a new visual feast to delve into, consider checking out How to Not. The eight-episode web series is an alternately funny, hopeful, and poignant look at one young 20-something woman’s experiences with love, queerness, and the confusion of “growing the fuck up.” After a dissatisfying night out, the series’ protagonist, credited as “You,” feels disheartened and lonely, with only her phone for company while waiting for her Uber home—until she makes the fateful decision to change her Tinder settings to “Only Women” and quickly finds a match in Jamie. She’s a full-time flight paramedic who stands in stark contrast to the gross guys hitting You up on the platform with cringe-inducing puns. As the series progresses, the audience learns that the protagonist is not perfect—far from it—but she is trying. She’s working, learning, and fighting to better herself, and that crucial growth and development that is so universal and relatable is what makes How to Not worth seeing through to the very end. Director Gia Vangieri originally set out to make a series in which the “gay girl wins,” and I’d say she’s succeeded. —Victoria Chiu ♦