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Classic Black Sitcoms

“It’s a rare condition, this day and age / To read any good news on the newspaper page…” If this lyric rings a bell, you’ve come to the right place! This list consists of beloved Black sitcoms spanning several decades that are sure to help you scratch that nostalgia itch and deliver some good old laughs.

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Diff'rent Strokes

1980s sitcom staple centered around millionaire widower Phillip Drummond, daughter Kimberly, and adopted sons Arnold and Willis.

The Cosby Show

Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable was an OBGYN (obstetrician/gynecologist), and his wife Clair was a successful attorney. They had five children: Sondra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa and Rudy. Sondra was rarely seen during the first season because she was away at Princeton. She became a regular character in the second season, and was usually seen with her on-again off-again beau, Elvin. They eventually married and had twins; but not before stunning their families by announcing the fact that Elvin was dropping out of medical school to open a camping store, and Sondra was dropping out of law school to help her husband in his endeavor. Denise was the "unique" child, the black sheep of the family. She had her own way of doing things, right down to the style of clothing she wore. After graduating high school, she left for Hillman College in 1986 (a year later, this would become the setting for the spin-off A Different World), but returned two years later with news that she was dropping ou

A Different World

In this spin-off from the popular sitcom The Cosby Show, Denise Huxtable enters her sophomore year at Hillman, alma mater of her parents and grandfather, where she moves into Gilbert Hall and shares a dorm room with 26-year-old Jaleesa Vinson and talkative new roommate Maggie Lauten. Also included in the first season cast were obnoxious and extremely wealthy dormmate Whitley Gilbert, ladies' man Dwayne Wayne and dorm director Stevie Rallen. Lettie Bostic later replaced Stevie as the new dorm director. At the end of the first season, Denise would return home (and to The Cosby Show) after dropping out of college. In the fall of 1988, new students Freddie Brooks and Kim Reese entered Hillman College. Freddie was a "hippie-child" who developed a crush on Dwayne; and Kim, an aspiring med student, became Whitley's new roommate. Giving Dwayne a hard time was his math professor, Col. Bradford Taylor. Also, Ron Johnson and Walter Oakes became regulars in the second season after appearing o

Family Matters

The Winslows, a middle-class Black family living in Chicago, deal with various misadventures — many of which are caused by their pesky next-door neighbor, ultra-nerd Steve Urkel.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

A wealthy family living in Bel-Air, California, receives a dubious gift from their poorer relations in Philadelphia when Will Smith arrives as The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. Will shatters the sophisticated serenity of Bel-Air with his streetwise common sense, much to the dismay of his upper-crust uncle, Philip Banks, Aunt Vivian and three conceited cousins, Carlton, Hilary and Ashley - and butler Geoffrey. As the Banks family opens their home - and their checkbook - to their needy relative, Will adapts easily to their indulgent lifestyle. Yet, he reminds everyone that the simplest pleasures of family life can't be bought at any price.

Martin

Martin is a sassy sitcom centering on a radio-and-television personality named Martin Payne. The series focuses on Martin's romantic relationship with girlfriend Gina Waters, his job changes from a radio personality to a television personality, and the variety of friends Martin hangs out with along the way: the loud-mouthed and sassy Pam James and his best friends Tommy Strong and Cole Brown. Star, Martin Lawrence, also portrays of host of wild characters on the show. His neighbor Sheneneh; his mother Mama Payne; Otis the security guard; Jerome the gold-toothed player; Roscoe the snot-nosed kid who's always looking for a leg up; Bob, the white guy, King-Beef, Elroy, and many more. Martin is the center of attention, as each episode takes you from one hilarious circumstance to another. Hijinks, laughter, quick-witted banter, and lotsa love, make this series one to last forever.

Living Single

Six black 20-somethings — four women and two men — share their lives and loves in a Brooklyn brownstone. A trio of women share one of the apartments, receiving frequent visits from a fourth pal; meanwhile, two men who've been friends for years share an apartment one floor up.

Sister, Sister

Tia and Tamera Mowry play twins who were separated at birth and by chance meet each other in a shopping mall. Ray Campbell, Tamera's adopted father, is very different from Tia's adopted mother, Lisa Landry, but the twins don't want to be separated so Ray and Lisa end up living together. The series often focuses on the trouble the twins get into due to their identical appearance and the love-hate relationship between Lisa and Ray.

The Wayans Bros.

Comedians Shawn and Marlon Wayans (In Living Color, Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood) star as Shawn and Marlon Williams, two brothers with little more in common than their family name, the one-bedroom brownstone they share in New York City and an innate ability to disagree, disrupt and dis'. The Wayans Bros. is a Next to Last Production and BabyWay Production in association with Warner Bros. Television. Phil Kellard and Tom Moore are the executive producers, Josh Goldstein and Eric Gold are co-executive producers, Maiya Williams and Robert Bruce are the consulting producers and Craig Wyrick-Solari is the producer. Shawn and Marlon Wayans serve as executive consultants.

Kenan & Kel

High school friends Kenan Rockmore and Kel Kimble are always scheming. Kenan, who works at a grocery store, constantly devises crazy plans to strike it rich, while orange-soda-loving buddy Kel is always dragged along for the ride — despite his track record for messing things up.

Moesha

Black teenager Moesha recounts the daily life of her happy-go-lucky family living in the Leimert Park section of Los Angeles.

The Steve Harvey Show

Mixing it up with laugh-out-loud comedy, youthful appeal and a likable namesake lead, The Steve Harvey Show crackles with high school hijinks and teacher entanglements in a hip urban setting. The series' successes as a multiple NAACP Image Award winner and as one of The WB's hit flagship series underscore its enduring longevity, immense popularity and far-reaching influence. In the series, former R&B star Steve Hightower (Harvey) gives up his wild times for school ties, becoming an inner-city Chicago music teacher and eventually a vice principal with a ragtag bunch of classroom charges. Headlining the Hi-Tops soul group who opened for the likes of Gladys Knight and the Pips Hightower's touring career never quite hit the high note he expected. Down on his luck, and totally out of money, he decides to let go of his carefree lifestyle and pin down a "real" job. With an assist from his longtime friend and eventual roommate, the gym coach with the insatiable appetite Cedric Rob.

The Jamie Foxx Show

Texas native Jamie King (Jamie Foxx, "In Living Color") is an aspiring actor who heads to Hollywood in hopes to find fame and fortune in the entertainment industry. To support himself, he works at his Aunt Helen (Ellia English) and Uncle Junior's (Garrett Morris, "Martin") Los Angeles hotel, the King's Towers. On the job, he annoys co-worker Braxton P. Hartnabrig (Christopher B. Duncan), the up-tight accountant, and tries to win the attention of gorgeous desk clerk, Francesca "Fancy" Monroe (Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon, "NYPD Blue", "Opposite Sex"), who has made it clear that she is not interested in an office romance. Nevertheless, Jamie is determined to maintain his skills as an entertainer and move into the limelight. After starting out as a member of the "In Living Color" troupe, Foxx stars in his own show that was the WB's highest-rated series for the 1996-1997 season. First Telecast: August 28, 1996 Last Telecast: January 14, 2001 Episodes: 100 Color Episodes

The Parkers

This time around, Kim and Nikki enroll into Santa Monica Junior College in Santa Monica, California. While Kim was initially bothered by the thought of her mother attending college with her, she eventually came to accept it, and they both grew closer because of the experience. Then, there was Nikki; she got pregnant with Kim in high school, which forced her to dropout during her senior year to raise her daughter (she went back to receive her high school diploma, as seen in an episode of Moesha), and eventually never went to college---until now. Nikki is known most-notably for her never-ending pursuits after SMC professor, Stanley Oglevee (Dorien Wilson). Throughout the entire series, Professor Oglevee denied Nikki's request for love; but as we know, that neve

My Wife and Kids

Michael Kyle longs for a traditional life, but his day-trader wife Janet, gangsta rap-worshipping son Michael Jr., and brooding daughters Claire and Kady make his dream just that ... a dream.

One On One

Flex Washington is Baltimore’s sexiest sportscaster who takes on the challenge of raising his sassy 14-year old daughter, Breanna. As Flex masters the art of fatherhood, he discovers his daughter is not afraid to share her opinion on his parenting skills or life choices. Duane, Flex’s lifelong friend, and Breanna’s godfather, is a used car salesman who repels women as fast as Flex attracts them. Spirit is Breanna’s best pal and partner in crime, while Arnaz, a Lenny Kravitz wannabe, remains Breanna’s most devoted fan.

Girlfriends

A mixed batch of black women face life's tests and triumphs together. From dating to divorce, and friends to family to relationships, Joan, Maya, Lynn and Toni support each other despite their differing backgrounds, learning about true friendship in the process.

The Bernie Mac Show

Bernie and his wife, Wanda, reluctantly step into the role of parents when his sister drops off her three kids -- naive Bryanna, nerdy Jordan and teenager Vanessa -- en route to rehab.

Half & Half

Essence Atkins and Rachel True star as half-sisters Mona and Dee Dee, who have only one thing in common: their father. Growing up separately, these two virtual strangers suddenly become neighbors in the same San Francisco apartment building, and experience the challenges of sisterhood for the first time. Two half-sisters living under one roof with one very big problem – each other!

Everybody Hates Chris

A black teen in Brooklyn during the early 1980s attends a mostly white school. At home, Chris helps care for his younger brother and sister, while at school he's often the target of a racist bully.