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A Guide to Classic Black Sitcoms from the 90s and 00s

If you have been living under a rock, you’ve missed Netflix’s infamous announcement to stream some of the most classic, Black television shows. For most of us this age, these shows may be brand new or a faint memory. It’s okay! Here’s a guide to these classic shows so no one get’s their Black card revoked!

Moesha (now streaming on Netflix):

Moesha stars 90s R&B singer, Brandy Norwood, as the lead character Moesha Mitchell. The show focuses on the life of an upper-middle-class Black family in Los Angeles through the eyes of Moesha. 

Moesha was important because it successfully tackled important subject matters for Black teenage girls coming of age. The show dealt with teen pregnancy, drug use, race relations, premarital sex, the death of a parent, and day-to-day issues teenagers face.

This show is a classic for all Black teenage girls so if you haven’t started watching yet, what are you doing?

Girlfriends (now streaming on Netflix):

Girlfriends walked so Insecure could run. 

Girlfriends was a pioneering show centered around Black girl friendships and dating adventures. It follows four significantly different Black women living in Los Angeles and showed us how they collectively exemplified Black girl magic. The show provided a platform for issues like sexism, racism, mental health, and sexual health.

 

Girlfriends will remain iconic because it showed us a range of Black women but no matter what, they always had each other. 

Y’all thought Issa and Molly’s friendship was a lot, with Toni and Joan you’re in for a rude awakening!

The Game (now streaming on Netflix):

The Game is a dramedy about three women in relationships with professional football players. The series mainly follows Melanie Barnett, played by Tia Mowry, who gave up a free ride to John Hopkins University School of Medicine to be with her football star boyfriend. 

The show made sure to highlight issues of fame, class, race, infidelity, and of course what’s a drama series without baby mama drama? The Game was a pioneer in harnessing the power of social media to energize the fans. The Game was always a trending topic when it was on. The premiere of season 4 brought in a record-breaking 7.7 million views, making it the most-watched sitcom premiere in cable television history. 

Fun fact, The Game is a spin-off from Girlfriends. Melanie Barnett is the first cousin of Joan Clayton from Girlfriends.

Get in tune and follow the drama. This show is sure to keep you on your toes!

The Parkers (streaming on Netflix October 1st):

The Parkers is a comedy that centers around mother and daughter, Kim & Nikki, who both attend Santa Monica College. The mother-daughter relationship evolves as Nikki adjusts to the fact that her daughter is old enough to live on her own and Kim realizes there is more to her mom’s life than just being a mother.

You may recognize Kim because The Parkers is a spin-off from Moesha. 

The Parkers are sure to provide comedic relief all while showcasing a healthy mother and daughter relationship.

Sister, Sister (Now streaming on Netflix):

Twins make the best duo and it’s an even better duo when the twins are the iconic, Tia and Tamera Mowry.

Sister, Sister stars the Mowry sisters as Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell. The twins were separated at birth and 14 years later they accidentally find each other and become reunited. 

Sister, Sister successfully showcased a Black family continuously loving on their Black children. The show embodied Black culture in the ‘90s in ways that other shows didn’t.

Who hasn’t heard the iconic line “Go home, Roger”? You’re missing out!

Half & Half (Streaming on Netflix October 15th):

Half & Half centers around the lives of two paternal half-sisters in their twenties who were estranged in their childhood and are finally developing a close relationship.

This show sets an example for a typical sibling relationship. The sisters have two significantly distinct personalities but they learn to love each other as they help each other with work, dating, and their parents. 

Although this series was short-lived and arguably deserved a longer run it remains a classic Black sitcom.

One on one (Streaming on Netflix October 15th):

One on One stars Flex Alexander as he becomes a full-time dad to his teenage daughter Breanna played by the legendary Kyla Pratt. 

This show puts comedy at the forefront but still explores important topics. The show is a highlight of what Black fatherhood consists of. Flex was a girl dad way before the term was coined. Throughout the series we see the duo’s relationship evolve as Breanna makes strides in her personal life and Flex’s bachelor lifestyle is completely turned upside down. 

The series has a feel-good vibe to it and some might say the show has yet to receive the flowers it deserves.

After years of being off-air, the cultural pertinence of these shows is evident now more than ever. For an entire generation, these shows were the perfect example of representation and now they are back for a whole new generation to watch. They represent the depth of Black life in America. All of these shows are important to Black culture because they are all unapologetically Black. There is no slave story; it is simply Black and carefree. Black people are worth more than our trauma. We deserve platforms in which we are shown being loved, celebrated, and successful and these shows do just that. 

This reboot of Black sitcoms is a win for not only Netflix but the culture. Happy binging!

Naa'ilah Frazier

Hampton U '22

Naailah is a strategic commiunications major, cinema studies minor from Brooklyn, New York. She is a member of the Student Union Board and a writer and social media coordinator for WHOVTV. Naailah hopes of becoming a director and a producer for films.In her freetime she loves to write, read,stan Beyonce and try new restaurants.
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