This Mother’s Day, as we celebrate matriarchs in our family who have raised us, loved us and nurtured us into adulthood, we want to pay homage to our television mothers as well.
While we would never trade in our real moms for the fictional ones, there are still many qualities women such as Black-ish’s Rainbow Johnson, Pose’s Blanca, and Empire’s Cookie possess that we cherish and love. Then, of course, there are the moms of the past such as Claire Huxtable, Aunt Viv, and Harriette Winslow who taught us so much along the way.
So to honor that, here are 12 Black television moms who we love:
1. Tasha Mack: “The Game”
Tasha Mack (Wendy Racquel Robinson) was the single mama with talent in her uterus. She single-handedly helped Malik build his career, and she wasn’t going to let any man or woman stop that empire.
2. Rainbow Johnson: “Black-ish”
Tracee Ellis Ross as Black-ish’s matriarch, Rainbow, is the kind of woman that inspires us to live out our career goals. Dr. Bow is fair and pragmatic, but also knows how to have fun. And, she has all the best hair products!
3. Dee Mitchell: “Moesha”
Dee (Sheryl Lee Ralph), is still our mom in our heads. She was always the cool-headed mom and wife of reason, but she definitely could lay down the law when she needed too.
4. Lisa Landry: “Sister, Sister”
Lisa (Jackée Harry) was the more sporadic and fun parent–and the girls (Tia & Tamera) were better for it.
5. Pose’s: Blanca
As Kellee Terrell wrote for the A.V. Club, “While Black motherhood is usually assigned solely to cisgender women, the hit drama Pose has redefined it by showing the reality of Black trans women in the ballroom scene who take on this role every day, and have been doing so for decades. These mothers may not have given birth to their “children,” but they are the bedrock of the Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ community.” Trust, Blanca (Mj Rodriguez) is the queen mother of them all.
6. Janet Kyle “My Wife And Kids”Source:Getty
Janet Kyle (Tisha Campbell Martin) was probably known for her meltdowns more than anything, but her motherly love made up for the bouts of crazy.
7. Nikki Parker: “The Parkers”
This mom, perfectly played by Mo’Nique, gave us all the life with her confidence and witty clap backs.
8. Cookie Lyons: “Empire
From the flashy and fashionable clothes (what daughter wouldn’t want to play in that closet?) to her ability to read anyone who tries it, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) is a mother who would do anything to protect her children, even it means breaking the law.
9. Claire Huxtable: “The Cosby Show”
What can be said about Claire Huxtable that hasn’t been said before? Brilliantly played by Phylicia Rashad, the mother of five and lawyer had the ability to read people (mainly Elvin) for filth without raising her voice. She was the voice of reason, the nurturer, and not the one to play with.
10. Vivian Banks: “Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air”
Be clear: No disrespect to the amazing Daphne Maxwell Reid, but the only Aunt Viv we acknowledge is the one played by Janet Hubert. All that melanin, beauty, and poise, not to mention, she made sure we knew that she was more than a housewife–she had a Ph.D. and could dance her tail off.
11. Harriette Winslow: “Family Matters”
Harriette Baines Winslow (Jo Marie Payton) was the steady voice of reason when Carl was losing his sh*t. Everybody needs some Mama Winslow in their life, and one that stands up for herself.
12. Maya Lewis: “Scandal”
Okay, maybe we wouldn’t want to be raised by this sultry, evil, seductress (Khandi Alexander), but if Olivia turned out kick-ass (albeit, a little insane), maybe she didn’t do so badly after all. That, and sis, could give one hell of a monologue.
13. Jerri Peterson: “The Parent ‘Hood”
Jerri (Suzanne Douglas) was lovable but quick to set her four kids straight — and sometimes even her on-screen hubby, comedian Robert Townsend.