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DAR TV: The 7 Greatest Black TV Mothers

By @TrueGodImmortal


Last week, we took a look at the best black TV dads, the fatherly figures that helped shape the shows of our youth and beyond. Today, we look at the mothers, the strongest pieces of the family who managed to keep their entire household in order whenever things got strenuous. There are many moms to choose from, as there are a number of great sitcoms and black shows with strong motherly figures, but today, we will only talk the 7 best, in order. You might be surprised at some of the names on the list, but the truth is, these are the names that had longevity and great character narratives to go along with what they presented. Missing from this list? Middle of the road TV mom's like Nikki Parker, Dee Mitchell, Tasha Mack, Thea, and more. They were solid mothers for the shows, but not as important or pivotal as these other choices on the list IMO. Let's take a look at my 7 choices.

7. Lisa Landry
(Sister, Sister)



-In essence, Jackee Harry might be the most underrated actress on this list. Always outspoken with a comedic flair, her role as Lisa Landry was one of the best motherly roles possible for black television. What made her role so special was the outlandish humor, the playfulness yet ability to mother her daughters correctly, and the spirit of an entrepreneur that makes more independent than a number of the names on the list. I think Lisa Landry was a great example for the two twin daughters who she helped raise on the show, and her banter with Ray, their father was top notch through the seasons. Aside from two other choices on this list, Lisa Landry might be my favorite TV mom.

6. Janet Kyle
(My Wife And Kids)



-Tisha Campbell was once legendary for her iconic role as Gina in the GOAT black sitcom Martin. That role defines her career in many ways, but the truth is, she has another role that helped revamp her career in some way years later. Years after her role in Martin, Tisha came back as Janet Kyle, the slightly annoying but hard working mother to three kids and wife to Michael Kyle. Her character balanced so much, handling her motherly duties and dealing with the antics of her husband, while maintaining a successful career at the same time. Janet Kyle was one of those TV moms who made sure to make things happen for herself or her family and that's what earns her a spot on the list.

5. Rochelle Rock
(Everybody Hates Chris)



-We are all familiar with Tichina Arnold and her epic role as Pam on Martin, but this is a role that is equally important to her career. When Everybody Hates Chris debuted, I didn't know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how well this show turned out and how great her portrayal of Rochelle went. She was a great comedic component next to Terry Crews and his portrayal of Julius, as well as the hilariously paranoid TV mom who was abrasive, straightforward, loud at times, but always provided the show with classic moments and laughs. Rochelle is a great TV mom, and in true classic sitcom fashion, gave us a moment for the ages when she took off her wig once to fight a babysitter that wasn't doing her job right.
 
4. Mary Jenkins
(227)



-I'll admit, at first I wasn't aware of how good 227 was. It's not my favorite black sitcom, but when I caught wind of how solid the show was, I began to pay more attention to their characters. One of the most hilarious characters on the show was the mom, Mary Jenkins, played the legendary Marla Gibbs. While this isn't her most infamous role (her role on The Jeffersons takes the cake), this was a great role for her and one of the best moms I've seen on television. She was a housewife, always focused on some good gossip and running her mouth, but it was always so entertaining to watch. Many praise Jackee Harry for her performance in this show, but in my opinion, Mary Jenkins was the character that carried the show and was well deserving of more praise.

3. Florida Evans
(Good Times)



-For many, Florida Evans was probably their favorite growing up. For me, she was far from that, but I recognize her importance to the black sitcom world. Though she wasn't the hardest worker or even the most wise of the TV moms, I think she provided an emotional element for the Evans family that cannot be rivaled. She was the motivational piece of the family despite their living conditions and the things they went through on the regular, which makes her very vital as a TV mother. From protecting her three children to being a good wife to her husband James Evans to her strength after James died ("Damn! Damn! Damn!"), Florida Evans is one of the most important TV moms ever, earning her a top 3 spot without question.

2. Vivian Banks
(Fresh Prince Of Bel Air)



-The truth is, the original Aunt Viv was one of the best characters on Fresh Prince and if they would have let her stay on the show for the entire duration, I think she might have a claim to the no. 1 spot. Yes, I said it. What makes Vivian better than Florida Evans to me is the fact that she wasn't nearly as annoying, was much more independent, and provided much more insight and wisdom for the children, whether it was her own children in Carlton, Hillary and Ashley, or her nephew that was like a son, Will. The OG Vivian Banks exuded charisma, class, confidence, and was able to balance her motherly life with her own creativity and aspirations while having a hugely successful career. Aside from Mrs. Huxtable, Vivian Banks is the best TV mom, and despite the 2nd version of Aunt Vivian not even being comparably close, that doesn't take away from the amazing run of the original. Plus, we will always have the iconic dance studio scene, which is a classic sitcom scene period.

1. Clair Huxtable
(The Cosby Show)




-Was there any other choice really? I mean, let's be honest. The measuring stick for TV moms will always be Clair Huxtable. Period. She exudes beauty, class, wit, charm, and so much more that I don't think I've ever seen a TV mom, whether black shows or otherwise, as amazing as Mrs. Huxtable. She was the embodiment of femininity, but also strong and dominant in her own respect, matching her husband Cliff and exceeding him in numerous aspects. There aren't many mothers on television that have exhibited the type of confidence and strength and independence that Clair showed. Phylicia Rashad stands as one of the best black TV actresses of all time, if not the best, and it mostly stems from this epic portrayal as Clair. There was no other choice for the no. 1 TV mom than Mrs. Huxtable. It's as simple as that.


-True

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