We talk about them at work, choose teams on Black Twitter, and post our favorite throwback scenes as enjoyable Black history lessons. These classic gems were beyond great television; they moved our souls and impacted our hearts, making them For the Culture.
This show was led by four beautiful professional Black women on-screen, living, dating, and at times, dealing with serious subjects such as racism, sexism, and divorce, all blended with humor. The connection between the show’s characters and the audience was so strong that after its cancellation years later, we’re still upset not to know if Joan got married or not.
(8) The Cosby Show
Yep, just the show itself and NOTHING else. The father, a doctor, and the mom, a lawyer, were both Black college graduates who had kids and lived in a dope-style brownstone. They smiled; they were Black and had one hell of a classic karaoke episode.
(7) The Boondocks
Already a classic comic strip, The Boondocks as a TV show was epic. Huey was a kung-fu master, a pro-Black, conscious pre-teen with a cool fizzy afro. Granddad (RIP to John Witherspoon) is the patriarch with a hilarious dating life and master of the whipping belt. Riley, the younger outspoken brother, was always into mischief and disappointed when meeting his rap heroes. The Boondocks was an amine version of reflections of real life and the Uncle Ruckus in our rooms.
(6) The Jeffersons
George Jefferson, a boss Black man business owner who moved his family from the hood to the high rise and dissed any colorblind white person in the process, is cinematic reparations.
Insecure brought us relatable Black characters who dealt with issues such as depression, therapy, heartbreak, and career struggles. You can argue that Black Twitter was born the night of the season one finale when the lead character Issa was left with a Best Buy t-shirt while the boyfriend she cheated on was across town making Bank shot deposits.
(4) Living Single
Maxine Shaw was a boss lady lawyer, and Khadijah James was an entrepreneur who owned a Hip Hop magazine. The show has possibly one of the greatest opening theme songs of all time while being so impactful that the NBC network created its own colonized version called Friends.
Yes, Pam, Tommy, and Cole were hilarious, but the side-characters – Dragonfly Jones, Otis, Roscoe, Sheneneh, and others – all played by Martin, kept us in tears. The show was always filled with laughter while Gina and Martin were the first on-screen Black couple with sex appeal, and nobody could stay quiet watching the Nino Brown episode.
(2) The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Will’s character, from a loud, color-clothed clown to a mature, sensitive “Why won’t he love me, man?!!” adult, is growth personified, and Uncle Phil is the greatest TV Dad of all time.
(1) A Different World
Not only is A Different World probably responsible for the majority of Black College enrollment, but it also has the GOAT of all wedding episodes. Dwayne Wayne screamed “BABY PLEASE!!!!” to his ex-fiancé, Whitley Gilbert, who made everyone stand and cheer in their homes with Black joy, all except for Bryon, who most likely cried in the car. A Different World covered tough topics such as the LA Riots, rape, colorism, and others with a diverse group of Black characters that are forever relatable.