Black sitcoms have been an institution on television since Diahann Carroll first appeared in “Julia” in 1968. From the genre’s golden-age hits like “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Living Single” to recent premieres like “Abbott Elementary” and “Grand Crew,” these sitcoms have provided some of Hollywood’s most prominent and honest representation. Members of the Kaleidoscope staff picked a few classics below to add to your watch list.
The Proud Family
I loved watching the show when I was younger and even now because it was a funny positive show that I could relate to. The show was inclusive and talked about issues in our society in a way younger kids could understand.
“The Proud Family” is available to stream on Disney+.
by Campbell Bryan, reporter
Atlanta is one of the funniest and smartest shows on TV right now. Donald Glover brings so much genius to it, and every episode feels so carefully attended to. Lakeith Stanfield especially is a brilliant supporting character. A new season is coming out this spring and I couldn’t be more excited.
“Atlanta” is currently streaming on Hulu.
by Lewis Bruce, reporter
“Moesha” is my all-time favorite Black sitcom. It first aired in the ‘90s. It follows the life of teenage girl, Moesha (Brandy – my favorite 90’s R&B singer btw), and her friends as they navigate high school, love, friendships and young adulthood.
“Moesha” can be watched on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Paramount Plus.
by Madison Prim, Campus News Editor
“What’s Happening!!” is a classic Black sitcom that follows the antics of Raj, Dwayne and Rerun who are three working-class young adults in the 1970s. Being in the working class, they frequently participate in get-rich-quick schemes that usually go wrong or are foiled Raj’s little sister, Dee. This is a great feel-good comedy for a quick laugh on your study breaks with an average runtime of 25 minutes per episode.
by Kena Cheatham, Multimedia editor
“The Boondocks” follows two young boys named Huey and Riley who move from the Southside of Chicago to the suburbs with their grandfather. The series shows they deal with their life in their new, predominantly-white neighborhood, as well as with the societal struggles of being black in America. Showrunner Aaron McGruder perfectly blends humor with reality. The show is extremely funny, while also making stands on serious and important issues that within American society.
“The Boondocks” is currently streaming on HBO Max.
by Disney Bagwell, photographer
The Bernie Mac Show
By Caleb Wood
Showrunner Larry Wilmore describes the theme of “The Bernie Mac Show” as “kids are terrorists, and I do not negotiate with terrorists.” That militant attitude to parenting is present through the series’ 100 episodes which follows comedian Bernie Mac (playing a loosely fictionalized version of himself) after he is forced to take in his sister’s kids. While the show struggled in ratings, its influence is clear in shows ranging from “The Office” to “Black-ish.”
“The Bernie Mac Show” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime, Hulu, Peacock, Tubi, Pluto and BET+.
by Caleb Wood, Managing Editor