Growing up in the 90s was like growing up in the golden era of black sitcoms. We saw some of the best sitcoms coming from some of the most talented black actors we have. We were raised on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin, Living Single, A Different World, The Wayans Bros, The Jamie Foxx Show, Moesha, Sister, Sister, Family Matters, The Steve Harvey Show, Kenan & Kel, Smart Guy, Hangin with Mr. Cooper, The Parent Hood, In The House, Roc….the list can go on for days
The best thing about watching these shows as a kid was seeing us raw, unfiltered and unapologetically black. Not hidden behind the bevy of political correctness that we have to navigate through in today’s landscape. We laughed, we cried and we learned. We learned how to dress and embrace our culture. We learned how to love our family regardless of our quirks. We learned how differently we think and act when we grow up without much and when we grow up with plenty. Although the 90s was nearly 30 years ago, it helped shaped us into who we are as a culture, today. Thus the importance for us to continue those lessons to our culture.
Today, we have some really great sitcoms that offer us comedic relief and speaks to the nostalgia of our childhood. I can go through an entire list of really great sitcoms from the 2000’s and this decade. Netflix has done a solid job of growing the collection of black sitcoms available to watch. Starting from none a little over 2 years ago, to at least 3 currently; Chewing Gum, Marlon and the first 2 seasons of The Last OG. They are making an effort to add more to the collection with the recent 3 year deal between Netflix and Kenya Barris to create shows that speak to us specifically. Starting in 2020, Barris will be releasing a show Produced by and Starring Himself alongside of one of my favorites from The Office and Parks and Rec, Rashida Jones.
As described from Barris himself, this show will speak on the highly flawed, honest approach to parenting, relationships, race, and culture while putting a comedic spin on it. #blackexcellence is set to flip the traditional sitcom family upside-down. Pulling back the curtain, the series uncovers and explores the messy, unapologetic and often hilarious world of what it means to be a “new money” Black family trying to get it right in a modern world where “right” is no longer a fixed concept.
I am excited to see what topics and creative ways this show will highlight important topics in our community.
The characters were described via Deadline
“Walton is 18-year-old Chloe Barris, the effortlessly popular, under appreciative college student with an astounding level of entitlement. Benson plays 17-year-old Drea Barris, the moral center and Narrator of the show. Spencer is 12-year-old Izzy Barris, who’s difficult for difficulty’s sake, a pain-in-the-ass contrarian whose lack of caring only makes people want to mess with her more. Claiborne plays Pops Barris, 10, as lovable as he is gullible. Cabot-Conyers is 8-year-old Cam Barris, a miscreant trouble maker and a pathological liar with the best laugh you’ve ever heard and a grin that lets him get away with anything. Gardenhire Jr. recurs as 3-year-old Brooklyn Barris, who’s jarringly smart and well-spoken for a toddler.”
While there is no release date set, this series is set to stream on Netflix in 2020 so be on the lookout.
There has been a slight uproar on Twitter regarding the cast of the characters not truly representing the full spectrum of black people…I’d like to wait until the show airs before I make my judgement.
Please tell me about your sitcom experiences and how they translated to real lives in the comments.