Here are the ten black women on television that I have liked the most. This is completely my personal opinion based on whatever I have seen on American television by 2012:
In order of appearance:
1984: Lisa Bonet (sitcom, NBC) – she played Denise Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” from 1984 to 1991 and “A Different World” from 1987 to 1989. She was beautiful! I could watch her with the sound turned off. She also reminded me of me back then: confused, well-meaning but hopelessly self-centered, head in the clouds, ISFP. I liked how she had her own style.
1988: Cree Summer (sitcom, NBC) – played Freddie Brooks on “A Different World” from 1988 to 1993. Kind of like Denise Huxtable but more down to earth and more caring. I loved how she was just herself and did not care what anyone thought.
1991: Ella Joyce (sitcom, Fox) – played Eleanor Emerson from 1991 to 1994 on “Roc”, one of the best shows ever. To me she was like the perfect wife. I loved her voice too.
1991: Regina Taylor (drama, NBC) – played Lilly Harper on “I’ll Fly Away” from 1991 to 1993. One of the most fleshed-out, true-to-life black female characters on American television ever, not that that is saying much. I hated how she had no serious love life – almost like she was a nun or something – but she made up for it by having more of her inner life shown.
1992: Holly Robinson Peete (sitcom, ABC) – I mainly remember her from “Hangin’ With Mr Cooper” where she played Vanessa Russell 101 times from 1992 to 1997. I could watch her too with the sound turned off. I already knew about her in 1992.
1995: Gloria Reuben (drama, NBC) – played Jeanie Boulet on “ER” from 1995 to 1999. She did get a love life! But not a happy one (boo!): her husband was unfaithful and she got Aids!
1996: Michel Martin (news, ABC) – she is now on NPR, but from 1996 to 2006 she was a reporter for Ted Koppel’s “Nightline”. A good reporter and interviewer. I wanted a show for her on MSNBC with Pat Buchanan!
2004: Jennifer Hudson (talent show, Fox) – she came in seventh on “American Idol” in 2004. Even then, before she became famous, it seemed unfair, like strangely so even for a black contestant, like the producers wanted her off the show.
2007: Freema Agyeman (science fiction, BBC) – played Martha Jones on “Doctor Who” in 2007. Loyal, brave, intelligent – and she saved the Earth! What more could you ask for? Well, maybe a love life. She loved Doctor Who, big-time, but he only liked her. Probably the most realistic thing in the whole time-travel-and-space-monster show.
2012: Melissa Harris-Perry (news, MSNBC) – since February 2012 she has been the host of Nerdland, a news show that appears Saturday and Sunday mornings. It is almost like I had my own television show! One time she even had Sean Bell’s widow on her show. You know, like his death mattered or something.
Honourable mentions: Janice Huff (weather woman on NBC in New York, pictured above), Kim Coles, Kiki Shepard, Vanessa A. Williams, Tisha Campbell, Tichina Arnold, Cicely Tyson, Dawnn Lewis, Downtown Julie Brown, Vivian Brown (Weather Channel), Denise Nicholas.
– Abagond, 2012.
- Kim Coles: This post was inspired by Kim Coles, but she did not make the cut.
- Nichelle Nichols – I admire her greatly but the truth is she was never given much of a part. That is not her fault, she was doing good just to be on television at all back then.
- black actresses
- The most beautiful black actresses
- The Mammy stereotype
- Lisa Bonet
- Gloria Reuben
- Cree Summer
- I’ll Fly Away
- Melissa Harris-Perry
- Sean Bell
- Denise Nicholas
- Law & Order: UK – I saw Freema Agyeman in this show after I wrote this post.