Revisiting Some of Our Favorite Soulful Moments From Black Sitcoms

One thing I miss about Black sitcoms are those episodes where the main cast would just let their hair down and celebrate our music. It was key to the show’s cultural fidelity to reference the songs we love–a wink, a nod or some dap in the audience’s direction to say “We’re right here with you.” Take this second season clip from The Cosby Show, in which the Huxtable clan lip synced to Ray Charles‘ “Night Time is the Right Time.” Toothless Rudy was so adorable! But more than that, it made the song available to a generation that would otherwise know nothing about it. Is this one of The Cosby Show’s most memorable moments or what?

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More vintage weekend fun after the bounce!

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Why Ya’ll Laughin’ at Florida? Good Times probably employed more music in its storylines than any show on this list. Remember when James would bust in and catch JJ and Thelma getting down to some stock Disco music? Or little Michael belting a tune any chance he could? Or the show’s employment of a Jackson? One of the reasons we take music so seriously here is because there was a time when music was all Black folks had to get through the tough times. Check out this clip of Florida, Thelma and Wilona channeling The Supremes.

Best. Dancer. Ever. How can you not absolutely adore Rerun? What’s Happening is sorely underrated, maybe because it wasn’t primarily a show about a family. I related to it because it was a show about three friends that looked exactly like me and my best friends. (I would be the Dwayne in that equation. How you doin’!) But the best parts of the show other than Dee’s side-eye were when Rerun would start pop-lockin’. Fred Berry, we miss you!

She Only Did the Cabbage Patch Back Then. This clip might count as cheating, since Janet Jackson was doing double duty as a singer and actress. It was only a matter of time before the producers of Diff’rent Strokes (or Joe Jackson) would goad “Charlene” into a cross-promotional “on-the-fly” performance. Janet’s music was delightfully awful pre-Control, and she only knew one dance for some reason. But for the sake of reminiscing, this is a classic clip.

Forever Sheneneh. Heh.

What are some of your favorite clips and memories? Post them in the comments with a Youtube link if you can track it down. What better way to spend a lazy Saturday?

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