Mother’s Day is steadily approaching! As we prepare to celebrate the women who raised us, birthed us, and who are responsible for our growth, we also want to celebrate some of our favorite Black TV sitcom moms that hold an extraordinary place in our hearts. Seeing the beauty of blackness, the strength, resilience, and humor each one of these leading ladies possessed seemingly reminded many of us of the important maternal figures in our daily lives. From fan favorites such as “Jay Kyle” to the loving character of “Mrs. Huxtable,” and the forever poised “Vivian Banks,” there’s no denying these fictional figures were admired matriarchs in our community.
We couldn’t get enough of Phylicia Rashad’s character on the “The Cosby Show.” Some of the characteristics we loved about Mrs. Huxtable were her wit, beauty and brains, and no-nonsense but fair demeanor. The Huxtables showcased “Black Excellence,” long before the term became a trending social media phrase. There’s something to be said about seeing a successful Black couple in mainstream media during the ‘90s. Although it was a rarity, it was definitely much needed and long overdue.
Actress Janet Hubert who portrayed the original Vivian Banks from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” captivated our hearts with her class, style, and sass. We will never forget her unforgettable dance-off audition! What I loved most about Mrs. Banks was that she always gave her children the best sound advice to help them not only in the present moment but also as they matured well into adulthood.
Ms.Harriet or Mrs. Winslow, played by Jo Marie Payton on “Family Matters,” was adored by television viewers for her relatability. She reminded all of us of our mothers with her stern attitude, dedication to her family, and loving personality. Harriette Winslow disciplined her household, similar to how most of us were raised by our very own mamas, which is why she resonated and will always be a fan favorite.
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Bold, strong-willed, and entertaining would be the adjectives to accurately describe Rochelle Rock on the series “Everybody Hates Chris.” Tichina Arnold perfectly captured the essence of actor Chris Rock’s birth mother with her humorous rants as a normal, hard-working mom of three. Determined to provide the best upbringing for her children while trying to make ends meet is the common theme and uniqueness of her on-screen character. Like all mothers, whether biological or acquired, they simply want the best for their children in all aspects and will make the necessary sacrifices to ensure just that.
How could you not love Tisha Campbell Martin’s character on the sitcom “My Wife & Kids?” Her comedic jokes, devotion to her household, and warm- loving maternal spirit to her three children exuded through our television screens. As the voice of reason for the Kyle family, we loved her dynamism when it came to balancing the roles of motherhood, marriage, and personal ambitions.
We appreciate the vivacious, outgoing, loyal, and business-savvy character of Taraji P. Henson on “Empire.” The series recently ended, but Cookie dropped many gems on motherhood, womanhood, and life in general throughout six seasons. She represents the mom in your corner who loves hard and is willing to go to any lengths to protect, provide, and nurture her family unit. By no means can you hold Cookie down! From grandmas to aunties and in between, every mom has a little bit of Cookie Lyons in their blood when it comes to the people they love.
Last but not least, Tracee Ellis Ross’ portrayal of Rainbow Johnson on “Black-ish” has captured the hearts of millions with her quirky yet sensible relationship with her kids and family. Quite honestly, she is just trying to figure this mothering thing out. But isn’t this a common theme for all moms? There’s no guide or handbook to motherhood, and as we age, we realize our moms are learning along the way. Juggling all of her motherly duties, career, regular day-to-day, marriage, and so forth, Rainbow truly represents versatility and grace, which is a reflection and the epitome of many women in our lives.