As Mother’s Day draws near, take time to remember mothers, biological or not, that have shaped and molded us to the people we are today. I know with my busy life, I sometimes forget that a simple “Thank You” is worth more than an expensive gift and elaborate dinner.
Moms, especially, my own tribe of women, Thank you!
Here is a list of African American mothers that continue to inspire me as I navigate the joys of motherhood:
- Clair Huxtable, The Cosby Show (1984) I remember crowding around the TV on Thursday nights, my father excited to see what dance would go with the opening credits, my mom praising the “funky” outfits Claire wore, and my sister and I hoping to channel a little of Denise’s carefree flavor.
- Aunt Viv, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990) I was always partial to original Aunt Viv because she could take it from Bel-Air to Philly in a tilt of the head. I always admired how she could cast a withering stare in one moment, then turn it into nurture in the next. Plus Aunt Viv inspired me to OWN snickering young folks with a choreographed dance routine.
- Rochelle, Everybody Hates Chris (2005) Rochelle always reminded me of my mom. Like Rochelle, my mom never backed down, doing what was she needed to make sure the family looked their best. I remember being mortified at my mother’s in your face assertiveness. I also remember sneaking out because she was too strict. Rearing two children, I can appreciate all my mother did and I understand WHY she took these steps.
- Rainbow Johnson, Black-ish (2014) The Mister loves this show. The few times I have watched with him, I could appreciate the nuance to the approach of race relations in America. The monologue after the November 2016 election sealed the appreciation of the voice this show brings to the country. Rainbow is caring, stylish, and hilarious. She succeeds in balancing her wacky husband, four very different children, and a very outspoken (I feel your pain!) mother-in-law.
- Cookie Lyon, Empire (2015) I still remember my initial reaction to Fox’s previews of Empire. I rolled my eyes and tut tutted that this was a show that showed African Americans at their lowest. I was so wrong! Animal-print wearing Cookie is EVERYTHING I need to see as an over forty mom. She proves that despite a gritty exterior and rough exterior, at the end of the day she embodies all a mother desire: the health and happiness of her children; her rightful part of all she sacrificed for her children: and not to let ANYONE take advantage while rightfully fighting for self.
Two moms are joining the ranks of these adored women. First is Cynthia Carmichael, The Carmichael Show (2015). Played by Emmy Award-winning actress Loretta Devine, Cynthia is a loud, proud, and Christian mother. She speaks her mind, but like all moms, it is all in love.
The Carmichael Show season 3 premieres Wednesday, May 31 on NBC.
Essence Atkins returns to the small screen to play Marlon Wayans’ wife on the upcoming series Marlon. Essence captured our hearts in the hot show “Smart Guys” in the 90s, she was fantastic in Half & Half, and delightful in Are We There Yet? the TV show. She partners with her A Haunted House costar Marlon Wayans to play Angie Wayans, the divorcee of Marlon. As Angie, Atkins is determined to make sure her family keeps it together while she sets a great example for the kids. Catch the series première of Marlon on Wednesday, August 16th on NBC.
What TV moms have been an inspiration for you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!