I don't know if it's because it's Monday or if I was busy doing something other than watching TV in the 90s, but coming up with a list of memorable black women on TV from that era has been really tough. I guess this was the decade when we started going out of style.
Whereas, the 80s had a number of sitcoms centered around black actresses like A Different World, it seems the slow decline of the black themed sitcom started taking a toll in the 90s.
Here is what I came up with:
Here is what I came up with:
"Maxine Shaw" - Living Single
Might as well start at the top. Many people, myself included, believe that Living Single, was the inspiration for a certain other sitcom with two groups of professional singletons living together in the same building. I just bought the first season on DVD and I can tell you that it is just as much fun to watch the second time around. The disks are worth the price for the theme song alone. I have based my life on the teachings of sarcastic queen Maxine Shaw. Not only was she sexy and smart but she ate constantly and, unlike the other girls, had her own apartment.
"Judy Hoffs" - 21 Jumpstreet
The inspiration for these lists. She one was a rarity. Not only was Holly the sole woman in the cast but she was hot too. I will always envy her for getting to work so closely with Johnny Depp while he was still bathing regularly.
"Rhonda Blair" - Melrose Place
Poor Rhonda. All she ever got to do on that show was say hello/goodbye and go to her aerobics class. Then, all of a sudden, she got married and was written off the show. Aaron Spelling has not been good to black people.
The Black Chicks of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
Okay, so lets get this all out of the way...Kendra the Vampire Slayer was a wuss and left a LOT to be desired with that Ja-fakin' accent, Phina Oruche was wasted as Giles' girlfriend Olivia, the First Slayer had a ratty weave and was often referred to as "The Primitive," Ashanti was woefully miscast as "Lissa," Rhona the slayer trainee was annoying, and finally flashbacks of Nikki the Vampire Slaying single mom made us long for another show just centered around her. Whew! That said, I still loved this show more than cake and ice cream so I had to work it into the list somehow.
T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh and Kim Wayans - In Living Color
It's hard out there for the black female comic who has to deal with the racism and sexism while trying to be funny yet these two women did it with did it with élan. T'Keyah was the cute and funny girl next door while Kim Wayan proved with the Grace Jones sketch that she would do (or wear) almost anything for a laugh. Wayans was suspended from the show at one point for refusing to appear in a skit she found degrading. In the end, The Fly Girls probably got more attention but these two ladies definitely paved the way for another variety show funny lady...
Debra Wilson - "MADtv"
A lot of the sketches on MADtv are just plain unwatchable but Debra Wilson has always been the show's standout performer. Her impersonations are hilarious. I don't know why Saturday Night Live hasn't tried to steal her away. Fred Armistand's Obama is weak and Kennan Thomson is too heavy to pull off Michelle. What's Lorne going to do come election time?
"Lisa Turtle" - Saved by the Bell
Okay, technically this show started in 1989 but I forgot to add Lark Voorhies character to the last segment. Truthfully, I was only a casual viewer of SBtB but I watched enough to know that the only thing Lisa Turtle seemed to do on that show was shop and avoid the advances of Screech. Further proof that TV execs don't know what to do with pretty black women on the tube.
Vivica Fox from that episode of Beverly Hills 90210 where Brandon dates the town black girl.
Whatever became of poor forgotten Sherice Ashe? Was her family run out of the Hills? Did she moved in with her auntie and uncle in Bel-Air? Whatever the story Sherice, you made an impression on me and girl, you were too fly for Brandon Walsh anyway.