Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Women in the Media: Reflection No. 2 - Does a Black "Roseanne" Exist?

While scrolling through my fellow classmates' reflections, Lemonia's caught my eye. She spoke once again of how influential Roseanne has been for her, both the sitcom and the woman for whom it's named. In class, when we spoke about the show, our discussion spawned into a discussion of other sitcoms that made up our childhood, and one question popped into my mind. Have we ever had a black equivalent to "Roseanne?"

We discussed a number of 'black' sitcoms, such as "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Smart Guy," "The Cosby Show"… but even those programs lacked what "Roseanne" was doing. "Roseanne" wasn't just a show about a struggling lower-middle class family in Middle America. It was also a show where a strong, independent-thinking woman (and later, independent business owner) was head of her household and never let her husband boss her around. "The Cosby Show" probably came closest to it, with Claire Huxtable a wise and intelligent business woman who was also a great mother and an equal partner in her marriage, but it wasn't the "Phylicia Rashad Show."

I'd be really curious to know if any of you have an answer. Setting aside the even more obvious problem of a lack of prominent black people in sitcoms today, is there, or has there ever been a black equivalent to "Roseanne?"

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