Black sitcoms seemed to explode onto the airwaves during the 1990s. It was great to finally see black people from all aspects of life without seeing them objected to common, racist stereotypes. As a young black women who grew up during the 90s, some of my favorite shows come from this decade. That being said, I learned some pretty important lessons about myself while watching these shows.
Black Girls Are Smart, Witty and Beautiful Too!
Of course this is something my parents would never let me forget, but it was also great to see this displayed during prime time television. Sitcoms such as Moesha and Sista,Sista had great depictions of young black females who were smart, goal oriented and funny. They weren't perfect, but they were real girls in real life situations. It was touching to see young women on television I not only looked up to, but also related to.
Black Families Came in All Different Shapes and Sizes
Despite what the media often likes to portray, the black American family comes in many different varieties. Shows like Moesha showed that no matter how difficult it might be black families also included blended families. The Smart Guy included a never before depicted black family dynamic: the single dad. Despite racist stereotypes about black fathers that media constantly portrayed, this black father would do anything for his two boys. I grew up with a mother and father in my home and I enjoyed seeing the family dynamics of other people who looked like me.
Black People Come In All Different Sizes, Colors and Personalities
I know Friends was all the rage during the 90s but there was nothing really relateable about it for me. Especially since Friends never had an ethnic person on it until its final season. Shows like A Different World and Living Single proved hands down that black people came from many different backgrounds and had different, shining personalities. Finally, the people on TV reminded me of my friends and I.
Black People Can Be Funny Without Being Offensive
Black sitcoms excelled at mixing comedy with drama. The story lines in shows like The Fresh Prince, Martin, The Jaimie Foxx Show were both poignant and funny. These shows proved black people didn't need to be shown as stereotypes to be funny. Life has plenty of drama and comedy at its core and though it may not be as realistic, TV didn't need to be any different.
Many black 90s sitcoms can be seen in reruns on television today. I only hope to see more of them appearing on Netflix and Hulu in the near future so a new generation of young black people can fall in love with them like I did.