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In honor of Mother’s Day, I surveyed my mom (of course) and some media professionals about their favorite Black mothers in TV history. Here’s what we came up with (in no particular order):

Florida Evans (Esther Rolle)

My favorite is Florida Evans from Good Times because she always knew how to keep her head up and be motivational, even when it felt like her family was at rock bottom. She was really easy going but she didn’t play. One of the best Florida Evans moments was when she brandished a bat at local thugs intimidating her youngest son, and said “Don’t touch him, or I’ll break every bone in your body!”

I asked my mom the same question and she also said that Florida Evans was her favorite adding, “My favorite [Florida Evans] line was uttered when she finally gave in to her grief about James’ death. Damn! Damn! Damn!”

I would say that she copied me, but I came from her. I guess great minds think a like.


Vivian Banks (Janet Hubert)

Aura Harewood, founder, All That’s Fab

“My favorite is the first Vivian (Janet Hubert) on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I like the episode when she she went to dance class and got hated on by some of the younger girls, but she absolutely killed her routine.”


Thea Turrell (Thea Vidale)

Kevin Clark, production assistant/writerThe Urban Daily

“My favorite black mother was and still is Thea Vidale from her short-lived show Thea. She kept those kids in check the best she could for a single mother, yet allowed them to get in trouble, be creative and have an opinion on their own. She reminded me of my grandmother, and how my mother was when she tried to get a handle on her rebellious teenage son. She had real motherly love that was felt by the everyday common kid.”


Rochelle Rock (Tichina Arnold)

Meka, co-founder, 2DopeBoyz

“[My top pick] is Rochelle from Everybody Hates Chris [because] she reminds me too much of my own mom: nurturing and caring, but uppity like a mofo and hood when she wants to be. Favorite moment: each time she says, ‘I do not need this. My man has two jobs!’”


Veretta Childs (Jennifer Lewis)

Courtney Willis, assistant editor, Honey Magazine

“Veretta Childs, Toni’s mother from Girlfriends, because she’s absolutely incredible—funny, caring, ridiculous and a drunk. I can’t even think of one standalone moment.”


Claire Huxtable (Phyllicia Rashad)

Anslem Samuel, freelance writer, Naked With Socks On

“You gotta love Claire because she’s the quintessential image of a strong, confident and sexy mother. She took no nonsense, especially with Elvin who constantly tested her with his sexist ideas of a woman’s role, but also knew how to laugh. Every boy wanted Claire as his mom, and every man wanted her as his wife.”


Adele Wayne (Pattie Labelle) and Marion Gilbert (Diahann Carroll)

Alvin Blanco, freelance writer, Bet’s The Deal

“Dwayne’s and Whitley’s moms on A Different World were hilarious. You had two sides of the black experience—Whitley’s bourgoise momma and Dwayne’s down home momma meeting and colliding. My favorite moment is anytime Dwayne’s mom would break out the prune cobbler.”


Who are some of your top Black TV moms?