Father's Day: 26 of our Favorite Black TV Dads

Television has been a staple part of my life because I have always wanted to sing and act and be on TV!! So, in honor of black fatherhood this Father's Day, here is a list of Black TV Dad's we love!


1. Oscar Proud- The Proud Family

Oscar Jackson Proud is Penny, BeBe and CeCe's over-protective father who is considered a loser by many. He is the longtime rival of mogul Wizard Kelly. He is the owner of a factory named Proud Snacks. He loves his wife and his family very much, but has a strong weakness for beautiful women, often finding himself in situations where he has the opportunity to cheat on his wife, but is always caught by a furious Trudy before anything happens. In reality, Oscar's heart has suffered deep wounds from his childhood; Sugar Mama and his father always favored Bobby over him and did almost everything together. However, despite their constant antagonistic relationship, Oscar and Suga Mama DO love each other. He is a cartoon voiced by Tommy Davidson and we love to love him and this show that changed the culture!


2. Heathcliff Huxtable- The Cosby Show

I know, I know! But this is about the fictional character, not the actor who played him. This character was really revolutionary because we got to see a professional, affluent, black family who deals with the same issues as every other black family but is working to balance reaching their kids responsibility and giving them the lives they didn't have. The Cosby Show was a landmark program that displayed an uplifting, successful Black family thriving and handling real-life issues, with Cliff as its comedic anchor. He disciplined with humor and wisdom. He loved his kids, each of whom presented different challenges, and his doting wife. Despite current circumstances, Dr. Huxtable will always go down in history as the quintessential Black father. An OBGYN married to a lawyer with five kids and a house always full of other relatives, Dr. Huxtable never takes himself or others too seriously, always sneaking drops of humor and crazy antics into every situation.


3. Ray- Sister Sister

Ray Campbell was a good dad. He adopted Tamera (Tamera Mowry), raised her as a single father for years after his wife passed, and then (when they discovered she was a twin at the mall) allowed Tamera's twin sister and her adopted mother to move in with them so his daughter could grow up with her sister. Thanks to his successful limo service he was able to be the primary provider for all of them, and he ultimately grew to love both Tia (Tia Mowry) and Lisa (Jackée Harry) like family. Like, what a guy! He also represented a more conservative type of black dad than we'd seen up to that point; he was dignified, intellectual, and definitely would have had Tamera up in Jack and Jill if she wasn't so opposite of him. Still, he always loved his daughter for who she was, even when he didn't understand. Also, check into Tim Reid's catalog, he's lowkey a pioneer in black theater and television!


4. John Witherspoon Pops- The Wayans Bros. & The Boondocks

Pops aka Granddad



John Witherspoon is the quintessential black hood dad and uncle we love to love. We excuse him for saying inappropriate things but we come to him for his wisdom because we KNOW there's nothing he hasn't done or tried! The man was pretty strange — one might even call him the first carefree black boy on TV, but he would probably smack said person for calling him a boy. While the term may not exactly fit, Pops definitely enjoyed being the parent of two adult sons who no longer needed day-to-day care...well, Marlon (Marlon Wayans) probably still needed it, but whatever. Pops spent time with his sons daily thanks to their side-by-side jobs: Shawn (Shawn Wayans) owned the newsstand next to Pops's diner — Marlon often worked shifts at both — and always had a story or catchphrase to share, but mostly he was about as dysfunctional as his boys.


5. Phillip Banks- The Fresh Prince of Belair

Uncle Phil: the tough-as-nails lawyer turned judge, with a big bank account, and an even bigger heart. Raising three children alongside the much revered Aunt Viv in the lavish Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, Philip Banks takes in his at-risk nephew Will, treating him as his own. Although James Avery is no longer with us, he is all of our Uncle Phil and angel!


6. Carl Winslow- Family Matters

A humble public servant of the law. A loving and caring husband. Most importantly, a father taking care of his three biological children, a nephew, an adopted son, and to some extent, next-door neighbor Steve Urkel.



7. Julius- Everybody Hates Chris

Julius Rock is the devoted and easygoing dad who works two jobs to take care of his family. His most defining characteristic is his frugality. In an effort to keep his family financially protected at all times, his cheap demeanor can often get in the way of things. JULIUS would never throw a Queen under the bus. *side eye*




8. Michael Kyle- My Wife & Kids

I LOVED this show so much!! I enjoyed watching it when it aired and the reruns! The whole Wayans Family is black royalty and put pretty much every black comedian (and Jim Carrey) on in the 90s. One of the most underrated black sitcoms of all time remains My Wife And Kids, and to be honest, I think the most underrated character on this list is Michael Kyle. Hard working, hilarious, and tough on his kids when they needed it, Michael Kyle was one of those rare TV dads that encompassed everything a fatherly television character should be. While being a solid husband to his wife, Michael Kyle took time to be there for his children and his interactions with Junior are some of the best on the entire show. Michael Kyle is not only one of the best TV dads, he's easily the most underrated.


9. Bernard "Bernie" McCullough- The Bernie Mac Show



Bernie Mac represented the many black uncles out there who have stepped up to become a father figure for their nieces and/or nephews. In this show's case, Bernie and his wife Wanda take in his sister's kids when she's no longer able to be a proper parent for them due to drug addiction. Bernie is definitely a part of the strict but comical trope of TV dads: He unapologetically portrayed how a parent could be both loving and still believe in a good ol' fashioned ass-whooping threat as a form of discipline — a balance I'm sure many black parents appreciated. I would also be remiss if I didn't mention the important work in showing America the way in which many black families implement the nickname "baby girl."


10. Frank Mitchell- Moesha

When we meet him in Season 1, Frank is a widower raising two children and had recently remarried, much to his teenage daughter's dismay. Sure, he was uptight and overly strict at times, but there was no question that he loved Moesha and did an admirable job balancing her rocky relationship with her new stepmother, who honestly never did anything to deserve Moesha's constant attitude in the early episodes. But then came Season 5 when their troubled cousin Dorian (Ray J) comes to live with them after running away from his mom. At first, it seems admirable of Frank to take on raising his sister's kid, but then it's revealed that Dorian is actually Frank's son, who he had after cheating on his late wife.


11. Andre Johnson- Blackish

A Howard University alum, and successful advertising executive, Andre “Dre” Johnson Sr. always finds himself in some wacky situation in an effort to pass on his background and culture to his children. Andre cares about his family, but that love is often covered in so much selfishness that it's hard to call him one of the best dads ever. The man constantly puts himself first and only actively likes one of his kids — two if you count baby Devante — and while his extra personality absolutely makes the show funnier, it also doesn't leave one wishing he was their dad. In fact, if you watch the show regularly, you probably spend most of the episode shaking your head at him until he has his come-to-Jesus moment in the end. It's during those last few minutes each week that it's easiest to see Dre's core: a man desperate to create the family he never had growing up but always wanted. And there's no denying that he has definitely succeeded at doing that, even if he annoys them all most of the time.


12. Fred Sanford- Sanford & Son

Fred G. Sanford is a widowed junk dealer who lives with his 30-year old son, Lamont. Unconventional in his methods, Sanford is always dishing out life lessons to his son on women, money, and everything in-between. He stayed by the side of his son Lamont after the loss of his wife Elizabeth and despite living in a junkyard, his relationship with his son was the biggest focal point of the show. Fred Sanford was far from a perfect father and that's what makes his one of the best TV dads. He was wrong a lot, he was sneaky in his own way, and he had his moments, but the fact that his son Lamont was mostly level headed through the show was more of a sign that he was raised well by his father. With his mannerisms, his choice of words, and his entire personality was endearing to viewers and I think the most underrated aspect of Fred Sanford is his fatherhood.


13. George Jefferson- The Jeffersons & Ernest Frye- Amen


The Jeffersons: A Harlem-born entrepreneur, George Jefferson is a strong father and husband who opened up his own dry cleaning business to do better for his wife and child.


Amen: Ernest Frye was one of those deacons whose love for the lord was something that could be questioned every episode. But Thelma he loved all the time, and it showed — especially in matters of love. His methods might have been hard to understand, but in the end, his daughter loved him so he must have been doing something right. Just don’t leave your wallet around him.




14. James Evans- Good Times

Actor John Amos played the strong father of the Evans family living in a Chicago housing project in the 1970s hit sitcom GoodTimes. James was not formally educated, but he worked hard and disciplined his kids with not-so-idle threats, and he had that look that J.J., Thelma and Michael knew meant to do as he said. Still, James loved his wife, Florida, implicitly and their children. So he encouraged his three children while protecting them at all costs.


15. Flex Washington- One on One

One on One was really the first time we got to see an entire series centered on a black dad raising a daughter on his own. The story's plotline is that Flex's daughter Breanna (Kyla Pratt) moves in with him after her mom accepts a job in another country. Watching Flex's transformation from a bachelor lifestyle, where he only saw his child two weeks out of the year and could be more of a friend than her parent, to a responsible, full-time single father was meaningful. It hadn't been done before on TV despite the number of men in this country who have had to struggle with making that journey. Flex and Breanna also highlighted what it's like for a child to learn to trust and respect a parent who wasn't always a part of their daily life. They were lowkey pioneers.


16. Roc- Roc

Before Charles S. Dutton went on to win three Emmys for his work on other shows, he starred in this underrated and brief series that was fairly typical sitcom until the second season, which aired each episode live. Roc was a treat because Dutton and several of the other cast members were trained stage actors.







17. Charles Thorne- Half & Half

Charles had a lot of women to deal with in his life, and he loved them all in different but involved ways. While watching his daughters’ relationship grow, he often had to answer questions and reconcile parts that didn’t make sense, ultimately attempting to make up for lost time with one and keep the other level-headed when possible. He may have been a secondary character, but he definitely had a coin that we all would be happy to have! He definitely spoiled his daughters!


18. Cleveland Brown- The Cleveland Show


Cleveland Brown, of The Cleveland Show, loved his kids, and wanted what’s best for them as long as everybody is okay in the end. Somebody has to be the voice(ish) of reason, and that was Cleveland Brown through and through, except when he was being painstakingly unreasonable. (Though it should probably be noted that the literal voice of Cleveland is a White actor, which…yeah, that’s a whole other piece.) But what father hasn’t had to be all those things at the same time? Not that we’re speaking from experience or anything.









19. Daryl Hughley- The Hughleys

Hughley (the comic, not the character) was the second of the Kings of Comedy quartet to get his own sitcom. I wasn't a huge fan of this show but it was on in my house while I did homework so I will say I watched it! Two decades before Black-ish tackled a similar premise, The Hughleys featured a family that lives in a predominantly white neighborhood -- in this case, after the dad, played by D.L. Hughley, develops the family's vending machine business to the point that the family can move out of south Central Los Angeles. Trying to fit in while remaining true to their roots leads to some funny interactions with his white and Korean neighbors.


20. Lester Jenkins- 227

It’s Lester, man. What can you say about Lester, other than he took it all in stride? Kept his family safe, kept Mary happy, kept Calvin from pushing up on Brenda. Classic peripheral sitcom dad. Played by actor, Hal Williams, we all have a father figure just like Lester!


Check out his favorite episodes of 227:


21. Robert Henderson- The Parent 'Hood

Played by Robert Townsend, Robert loved his kids the fun way. There never seemed to be a problem that couldn’t be fixed or addressed with a dream sequence and a big dose of “why not?” energy. Because of that, he seemed like one of those fun dads who never made you go ask mom before you entered into hi-jinks — most of which he actively participated in. That’s love.


22. Robert James- All of Us

Played by Duane Martin, Robert James was the father who had to figure out how to keep the mother of his son happy without making his fiancé uncomfortable. Too real. Thankfully, he was a great father to Bobby, teaching him about life and showing him just how happy a non-traditional family could be.


23. Colonel Bradford Taylor- A Different World

THE GOAT!! File this one under Ultimate Father Figure. Colonel Taylor brought a rigid, but loving, style to his parenting — which would have been fine, except Terrance was all over the place and seemed to have rebelled against it all. But on Hillman campus, at least, the Colonel was a figure everybody could look to for advice and never steered anybody wrong. In college, what more could you ask for?




24. Ralph Angel Bordelon- Queen Sugar

The increase in black creatives behind the scenes in the industry has had a positive impact on the nuances and layers black characters are getting, and Ralph Angel is one of the best examples of this. In Season 1, we met him as a single father struggling with unemployment after being released from prison. His son Blue (Ethan Hutchison) is the center of his world and identity as a man; Blue is what keeps him going through the hard times. No matter how hard the world tries to make Ralph Angel rough, he is always compassionate and kind with Blue. It's especially meaningful to see the way he allows Blue to form his own identity outside of gender norms, like the way he allows Blue to play with his favorite Barbie doll Kenya, for example, and stands up to anyone who questions that decision. Their bond is one of the strongest and purest I've ever seen on TV, which is why it was so devastating when Blue's mother Darla (Bianca Lawson), who is a recovering drug user, reveals Ralph Angel may not be Blue's biological father at the end of the second season. But what's even more moving is when Ralph Angel determines that he's going to continue to raise Blue as is his son anyway.


25. Randall Pearson- This is Us

Randall Pearson is actually a perfect human and this is not debatable. He has the biggest heart and is undeniably dedicated to making sure his girls grow up to be the best versions of themselves. Randall is number two because even his flaws are endearing — trust that a lot of the other families on this list wish their biggest complaint could be that their dad was a little corny, worked too hard, and overthought situations. Randall also pushes through the "tough love" stereotype most black dads on TV have been boxed into by being even more emotional than his wife when it comes to his kids and marriage. In Season 2, he even takes a step back from his stellar career and becomes a *gasp* house husband. The way he cares for his family is beyond moving. Tess (Eris Baker) and Annie (Faithe Herman) are the luckiest girls. And all of this is even more impressive when you consider he lost his adopted dad when he was a teenager and had to deal with not knowing his birth father until adulthood.


26. Eli "Rowan" Pope- Scandal

UNCLE JOE MORTON AKA PAPA POPE!! Baby he's the father we are both terrified of and would call first when we get in trouble! He even saved everyone's ass from prison in the finale by taking credit for B613. Sure, he kept Olivia's (Kerry Washington's) mother locked in a cell for decades and told Liv she was dead, buuut Mama Pope (Khandi Alexander) was an unhinged assassin who ultimately made Liv do the same to her. Besides, he had great taste in music and wine and had a Shakespearean soliloquy for every occasion. That "twice as good" speech BABYYYY!!! Iconic & Unforgettable!



Sources


https://www.buzzfeed.com/sylviaobell/definitive-ranking-of-black-tv-dads


https://level.medium.com/the-31-best-black-sitcom-dads-on-tv-462334f992a9


https://urbanfaith.com/2016/06/honoring-top-5-black-tv-dads-fathers-day.html/


https://atlantablackstar.com/2015/02/17/7-best-black-tv-dads-of-all-time/


https://thesource.com/2016/06/19/our-favorite-black-tv-fathers-who-remind-us-of-our-own/


https://theproudfamily.fandom.com/wiki/Oscar_Proud


https://cafemom.com/entertainment/223464-black-tv-shows-90s/328322-the_hughleys_1998_2002


https://www.ebony.com/entertainment/top-10-black-sitcom-dads-on-television-we-wish-we-had/