TV Shows and Movies with Arab American Representation to Watch All Year Round

published Apr 4, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

Arab American Heritage Month, the five-year-old national initiative to celebrate Americans of Arab descent, started April 1 and lasts the whole month. While still a new tradition, the existence of this month brings forth a modest but exciting outburst of Arab representation in film and television.

For decades, Arabs have scarcely been portrayed in a positive light in Western media; they’ve been shown committing acts of terror or being greedy barbarians. In recent years, however, Arab Americans have been able to get behind the camera and tell their own stories. Ramy Youssef’s Hulu Original series “Ramy” has been nominated for two Emmys, while comedian Mo Amer has had a Netflix special and is set to star in DC Comics’ “Black Adam” in October. 

Although there is progress, there’s no denying we have a long way to go. When I asked people for their favorite Arab American show or movie, many couldn’t even come up with an answer. Arab American media is widely undermade and underseen, but there is an audience waiting to find existing titles and support upcoming ones and wanting to see representation. Here’s where to start:

Breaking Fast

“A gay Arab American Muslim rom-com. The first of its kind, it was delightful and really warmed my heart! Its existence makes queer people in our community feel seen, and for that I’m beyond grateful. Sure it’s a little corny, but what fun rom-com isn’t?” —Nia Mohamed, Moroccan, Buffalo, New York

Available to watch on Hulu


“In ‘Bittersweet,’ Ahmed Helmy brings forth a humorous look at the life of an Egyptian American returning to Egypt after 20 years. This 2010 Egyptian production is an interesting mix of comedy and drama that explores diaspora, home, and belonging.” —Ahmed AbdulMageed, Egyptian-Palestinian, currently in Amsterdam

Available to watch on Netflix.

Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf

“A relatable story of teenage angst in rebellion, with the added hurdle of being a first-generation Arab-American girl.” —Yasmina Tawil, Lebanese-Syrian, Brooklyn, New York

Available to watch on Netflix.


“I picked ‘Ramy’ because of how relatable it was. The main character is conflicted with his Arab Muslim background and also having been born and raised in the U.S. I think this struggle to balance two identities is depicted honestly within this show and it’s definitely worth the watch.” —Mariam Al-Yakoob, Kuwaiti, West Lafayette, Indiana

Available to watch on Hulu.


“What originally stuck with me was the filmmaking style. It reminded me of a project I tried to make once about Lebanon full of slow, quiet shots of pieces of life. But what really stuck with me, and reflects Arab-American life, is that it explores the concepts of belonging and home. Many Arab-Americans are immigrants or first generation and the concept of their identity and where they belong is very complicated. They often feel like strangers in either of their homelands. Even when someone is not new to the U.S., because we are often othered, it can still be confusing about where you belong.” —Yasmina Tawil, Lebanese-Syrian, Brooklyn, New York

Available to watch on Amazon Prime.

May in the Summer

“Cherien Dabis’s ‘Amreeka’ isn’t available to stream or purchase anywhere right now, which is unfortunate since it would’ve been perfect for this list! Instead I’ll recommend her other film, ‘May in the Summer’. It’s a sweet comedy about a newly engaged New York author who returns home to Jordan, where she’s faced with her dysfunctional family.” —Noor Abadi, Sacramento, California

Available to watch on Amazon Prime.

We Are Lady Parts

“I recently discovered the British sitcom ‘We Are Lady Parts’, and I love its funny and realistic take on life as a first generation immigrant in the Western world. The show follows an all girl Punk Rock band and is a really honest representation of the joys and struggles of Muslim women torn between cultures and expectations. I’m inspired by the resiliency of the characters and find empathy and humor with the protagonist Amina’s issues with extreme anxiety that cause ‘spontaneous vomiting and diarrhea.’ It’s important to see how similar our experiences are across the diaspora as Arab and Muslim women and I love any show that can make me really laugh.” —Deena Ramadan, Egyptian, Richmond, Virginia

Available to watch on Peacock.

Detroit Unleaded

“’Detroit Unleaded’ follows main character Sami as he takes over the family gas station after his immigrant father passes away, and how that responsibility clashes with his personal life when he falls in love with Najlah. The director is native to Detroit, and went out of her way to cast from and film in Detroit, so it’s very authentically Arab American.” —M. Ibrahem, Sudanese, North Carolina

Available to watch on IMDb TV and Tubi TV.