Now, it is no secret that Black moms have been turnin’ up since the dawn of time. OG trill mom Florida Evans may have come through with a mild turn up on Good Times (“Damn, damn, damn!”), but there have been quite a few Black TV moms who revamped the way we looked at motherly figures on-screen.
With fierce personalities, independence, and drive, these mothers kept it all the way real.
As Mother’s Day fast approaches, let’s look at 15 Black TV moms who played no games and are some of our favorites.
Nikki Parker — The Parkers
The Parkers was a show full of turn-ups, but it was Nikki Parker who held it down for the ’99 and the 2000s. While she was getting her education on, she found time to go to the club and keep herself looking fabulous.
Nikki’s turn-ups were always at their best when she was on the prowl for Professor Oglevee. One of Nikki’s best moments came when a comedian she dated began to tell fat jokes for laughs while on stage. Nikki decides to get onstage and hit him up with a barrage of skinny jokes that ended that relationship and his career. This paved a way for her to return to Professor Oglevee, her future husband who always played hard to get.
Dee Mitchell — Moesha
Dee was in a different class than a lot of Black TV moms. She was the Black TV stepmom. People often underestimate the power of a good stepmother, and Dee was among the best, mainly because she knew how to keep it 100 with Mo and Miles.
When she wasn’t balancing parenthood with her career, Dee knew how to get down and did so with some on point Jamaican patois. But in real life, Sheryl Lee Ralph kept it even realer than her character, Dee. She exited the show and became a recurring character instead of a main one because she did not like the way they changed Frank’s character into a liar and a deadbeat dad. Keep it trill, Ms. Ralph!
Bridgette Hart – Real Husbands of Hollywood
While Kevin Hart is giving her all kinds of grief on the Real Husbands of Hollywood, Bridgette Hart stays with the realness. When she isn’t calling out Kevin and his crew on their little games, Mama Hart is turning up in her dating life. In one episode, after overhearing Kev bash her acting skills, Bridgette went on and blew his car up. Ice cold.
Cicely Tyson — How To Get Away With Murder
Cicely Tyson has been serving us fire for decades. Her turn as Annalise Keating’s mom in How To Get Away With Murder changed the game for Black TV moms everywhere. After a long absence, Mama Keating reenters the picture with a quote that slayed everyone watching:
“So, your no ‘count, sorry-a** husband who I said don’t marry couldn’t keep his peter in his pants and went and slept with a white woman. Then the fool goes and kills the white woman when he finds out she’s got his bun in her nasty oven. And after that your ex-police boyfriend kills the no good husband and gets himself arrested. And you? Now you ain’t got no husband, ain’t got no boyfriend and you holed up in this bed like the Queen of Sheba. That about cover it?”
Can we just give her the Emmy, the Golden Globe, the NAACP Image Award and everything else out there please?
Maya Lewis – Scandal
Deadly, intelligent, beautiful, and loyal, Maya Lewis keeps us on the edge of our seats even when she is locked in a hole in the ground. When she’s not playing chess with Rowan Pope, or being shady to her daughter, Olivia, she’s plotting and waiting for the right opportunity to take back her freedom. Nobody keeps Mama Pope in a corner.
Lisa Landry – Sister, Sister
With her animated voice, naughty sense of humor, and entrepreneurial spirit, Lisa Landry was a mom who kept her teenage daughters on their toes. Lisa went out on the town, ran her business, raised Tia, and always managed to find a hot date (before settling down with Ray). In real life, you can currently catch Jackée Harry on Twitter keeping it all the way real.
Cookie Lyon – Empire
Cookie is the poster woman for the Black TV mom who can turn all the way up. With her love for family, fiery passion, business savvy, and refusal to be silenced by any man, Cookie knows that being a mom doesn’t mean wearing ill-fitting jeans, becoming meek, and being sexless. Whether she’s taking back what’s hers or getting it in on a bear skin rug with Malcolm, Cookie knows how to have a good time and get things poppin’. In her best turn-up move yet, Cookie laid an epic beating on Boo Boo Kitty (Anika) while in the middle of planning a hostile takeover.
Tasha Mack – The Game
Tasha is wild, outspoken, driven, and a little cray. She’s been fired, punched, fired again and tried to sabotage Melanie every chance she could. While she was dating Pookie, she had an affair with Rick Fox, got pregnant, and wasn’t sure which man was the father. For a minute there she really needed Maury Povich on the main line. Thankfully, Tasha got her act together and decided to start helping her friends and family.
Rochelle Rock – Everybody Hates Chris
Tichina is no stranger to keeping it trill on TV. Her turn as Rochelle, the paranoid, abrasive mother of three was one for the record books. In one of the most hype moments in Black TV mom history, Rochelle takes off her wig to fight the babysitter who neglected the kids while she was on a date with her husband.
Stephanie Phillips – Instant Mom
Instant Mom on Nickelodeon does a great job of answering the following question: What happens when a party girl/food blogger goes from single to stepmom? Stephanie Phillips has to tone things all the way down while still trying to maintain some of her party girl past. Stephanie really tries to embrace her new role, but she does have to get it popping when she finds out her husband reused vows from a previous marriage at her wedding.
Lolli Ballentine – Soul Man
As the wife of crazy Reverend Boyce Ballentine and the mother of a challenging teenager, Lolli has her work cut out for her. But that does not mean that she does not keep it real. When she is racially profiled in a high-end clothing store, Lolli rises up and leads a protest outside the department store with her husband before telling off the security guard who looked a little too long at her bosoms.
Janet Kyle – My Wife and Kids
It can be hard trying to maintain yourself in the midst of raising children, being married, and having a career. But “Jay” still got down with the best of them. She wasn’t afraid to stand up for what was hers. In one of her finest moments, Janet gets a makeover that channels her inner Beyoncé and drives her husband, Michael, insane.
Harriet Winslow – Family Matters
Mrs. Winslow wasn’t hitting the clubs or fighting off her enemies, but she did save all her best turn-ups for Carl and the kids. Whether it was Eddie and his terrible grades or keeping the boys off Laura, or even steering Carl away from high cholesterol, Harriet always kept it all the way 100 and will go down in history as one of the best take-no-crap Black TV moms of all time.
Rainbow Johnson – Blackish
Rainbow is leading the new age of the Black TV mom. Her biracial heritage has given TV viewers a look at an underrepresented TV mom. While Bow is a busy doctor, she still finds time to turn up with Andre, teach her kids big lessons in the most embarrassing ways possible, and occasionally go to war with her mother-in-law played by the always trill Jenifer Lewis.
Janet Hubert – Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
If there is one thing that any real Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fan will agree with, it’s that OG Aunt Vivian did not play. Her realness, class, beauty, and effervescence was missed for years after she left the show. Aunt Vivian taught us to hold down that career, the family, a fabulous body and follow your creative hobbies. She was a true renaissance woman.
In one of her best moments in the series, Aunt Viv decides to go to a ballet class and dance again. When a few of her younger classmates decide to talk some smack, she has to set them straight.
But if there’s one thing OG Aunt Viv taught us it is this: Don’t come for me, unless I send for you. She worked her butt off and turned in a performance to “Everybody Dance Now” that slayed the entirety of that dance studio. There is always a place in our heart for OG Aunt Viv.