Black Sitcoms and Their Cultural Significance

Like many of you, each of these quarantine months,  I anticipate the new lineup of shows scheduled to drop on Netflix. From Netflix originals, to award-winning movies, I’ve seen pretty much all there is to see when it comes to the streaming platform’s current selection. That’s why when Netflix dropped Sister, Sister on September 1st, I couldn’t have been more excited.

There’s something about watching a show you remember loving so much as a kid that makes it all the more enjoyable the second time around. Sister, Sister is a show I faintly remember watching as a kid because I was so young while it originally aired, yet it still has this strange effect on me. It’s a show I couldn’t help, but binge-watch despite it never leaving a cliffhanger. I guess that’s nostalgia for you though. 

After finishing Sister, Sister, it occurred to me how special Black sit-coms like that were. Shows like Moesha, Girlfriends, and The Game speak to a different time within the film and television industry. A time when it wasn’t hard to find shows about Black friendships, Black families, and Black love. The 90s and the early 2000s truly were the golden age of Black television.

Sister, Sister and Moesha, specifically, hold a special place in my heart because of Tia, Tamera, and Brandy’s wardrobe. To say Black women held it down on television when it came to 90s fashion is a huge understatement. Girls like them had me knowing what Black girl magic before it was even a thing. Watching back nearly two decades later, I can wholeheartedly say I’d shop any of their closets. 

In all seriousness, Black sitcoms from the 90s and early 2000s gave Black life the limelight. Today, most Black people we see on-screen share the screen with their white co-stars and are almost always playing a supporting role. They’re squoze into the plotline to contribute diversity, advice to the white protagonist, and little else. 

Black sit-coms like the ones that aired in the 90s and early 2000s will always take me back to a time when I, a young black girl, felt represented. I saw myself, my family, and a lot of my friends the characters portrayed in these classics. That’s significant.