The Best Black Female Characters in Television History

It's hard to deny that we're currently experiencing a drought of well-written Black television. Recently, actress Regina King chided the Emmys for its glaring lack of diversity. While we saw a steady stream of successful tv we were proud to call our own in the 80s and 90s, colorblind casting and out and out discrimination has made stereotype-free small-screen ventures for Black audiences a thing of the past.

We're taking a look back at our favorite female characters. They're strong, funny, sexy, and bold.

Florida Evans
Actress: Esther Rolle
Date: 1974-1979
Throughout the temporary layoffs and easy credit ripoffs, she was the glue that kept the Evans clan together. Florida Evans represents the struggle and sacrifice of a blue-collar matriarch. Despite poverty and the death of her husband, James, Florida managed to raise three witty, well-adjusted children.

Claire Huxtable
Actress: Phylicia Rashad
Date: 1984-1992
There's never any doubt who was in charge when it came to the Huxtable household. She's the mother you wish you had. Equal parts elegance and playfulness Claire Huxtable made balancing a family and a career look like child's play.

Sandra Clark
Actress: Jackee Harry
Date: 1985-1989
When Sandra Clark came on the screen, everyone was looking. Her signature voice and walk set her apart from the other residents of 227. Sandra was sultry and sassy, and she never let anyone steal her light.

Kimberly Reese
Actress: Charnele Brown
Date: 1987-1993
We always admired her focus. Unlike some of her Hillman classmates, Kimberly Reese never had it easy. She worked, she studied, she played (pregnancy scare and all), but ultimately she graduated.  Kim was one of A Different World's most relatable characters, and we were with her all the way.

Aunt Viv #1
Actress: Janet Hubert
Dates: 1990-1993
Despite living amongst the bougiest of the bougie (excuse us "bourgeouis"), Aunt Viv kept it real in Bel Air. She raised her family while never losing herself.

The Ladies of Living Single (Khadijah, Regine, Synclaire, and Max)
Actresses: Queen Latifah, Kim Fields, Kim Coles, Erika Alexander
Dates: 1993-1998
They gave us sex and the city way before it became en vogue. Living single was the first time we saw a set of young, successful Black women who always had each other's backs. They spoke candidly about sex, relationships. sexism, and racism, and we love them for it.

Toni Childs
Actress: Jill Marie Jones
Dates: 2000-2008
Toni Childs is the friend you can only stand in small doses, but when she's around she's hilarious. But Toni was never as simple as she seemed. Beyond her unabashed superficiality, Toni had a backstory that made all of her BS completely worth it.

Dr. Miranda Bailey
Actress: Chandra Wilson
Dates: 2005-present
Dr. Bailey don't take no mess, and that's exactly how she got to the top at Seattle Grace Hospital. She's one of the most realistic Black female characters we've ever seen. Bailey isn't perfect, and that's what makes her great.

Do you see your favorites? Who are you favorite Black women tv characters? 

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