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?

More vintage weekend fun after the bounce!

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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9 Responses

  1. Big up for bringing back some great memories, first of all!
    Some of my favorites are from Sanford and Son
    -The 3 Degrees Meet Fred
    - When Fred sang with BB King.
    -When Fred,Skillet, Bubba, and Rollo would get some ripple and start singing and dancing.
    -When Aunt Esther mad Woodrow sing a spiritial and said "Sing it, Woodrow!" (If anyone has that clip, PLEASE post it here.)
    Lastly, on the Diffrent Strokes clip "get it Adelade!

  2. Oh yes!Memories.
    My all time favorite would have to be from Different World when the legendary Patti and Diahann fighting over the princess and her chipmunk lol

  3. all time favorite cosby episode. stevie!

  4. Jodeci on Martin (on the "Varnel Hill Show.")
    classic! Martin actin' a fool as usual.

  5. "We want the 3 Degrees!" Classic
    Well, there was this this one ep of Martin as a mechanic singing "Don't you know no good"
    and there is Heavy D on A Different World
    And who could forget Willie Tyler & Lester on the Jefferson's doing "Hambone"...oh.

  6. Loves it. Forever Shenehneh was my jam. Oh I miss Martin.
    I'm a Ill have to go with some Family Matters episodes when Lil Ricky did My Prerogative and busted out the Bobby Brown dance. Unfortunately I dont think YouTube documented that greatness, but they were always finding a reason to sing or have singers on that show.
    The Steve Harvey Show was also good for having Steve and Cedric burst out into an oldie. Steve Harvey Show
    I also love when there are guest stars: Guest Stars Singing

  7. Gladys Knight on A Different World when Jalessa, Whitley and an opera singing student were competing to be Gladys' backup singers.

  8. I love the episode of the Cosby show when Stevie came and sang for the family in the studio.
    Rerun was amazing! If anyone else was casted as Rerun they probably would have gone down in history as a shuckin' and jivin' negro...but Fred Berry was no short of amazing.
    I love when Michael sang You And I at Thelma's wedding!
    And if you don't mind, I'd like to offer this as another episode of a cool sitcom song and dance tribute:
    Thea wasn't a good show in the leastt, but this episode always stood out because it was the first time we were really introduced to Brandy the singer.

  9. That Cosby episode has always been in my top 5 based off that scene alone. I loved it and still do!
    Another top 5 is definitely that Gladys Knight episode on a Different World, as nikki previously mentioned.


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