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Top 10 Best Black Family Sitcoms (Pg. 3)

3. Sanford and Son

As Fred Sanford, Redd Foxx introduced the world to single parenthood daddy style via Sanford and Son. A reworking of the white British comedy Steptoe and Son, this black American version seized the groundbreaking language and spirit of 1970s comedy by hiring show writers that included Richard Pryor and Paul Mooney who occasionally peppered its dialogue with the N-word. And while Fred delivered a whole lot of ‘You big dummies’ to son Lamont (Demond Wilson) at the end of the day this duo was as tight, hip and cool as televised father and son could be. Not only were they in business together as junkyard partners but their family ties were subtle as they were strong. This was evident by Lamont’s affectionate references to his 'Pop' and the bold gesture of an adult son not only living with his senior citizen Dad but participating in the simple and loving tasks of preparing his meals as well. And when you added Aunt Esther, Uncle Woodrow and friends Rollo, Julio, Bubba and Grady to the mix the quips and antics on Sanford and Son were always fast, flying and extremely funny.

 

 

2. The Jeffersons

With this All In The Family's spinoff's finger popping theme song (sung by Good Times star Ja’Net DuBois) centered on the exploits of George Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley) "moving on up" it could sometimes be forgotten that The Jeffersons was actually a family sitcom. But since George and Louise "Weezy" Jefferson (Isabel Sanford) had one son, Lionel who was coincidentally played by two different actors both named Mike Evans (one was co-creator of Good Times) the longest running black sitcom in television history definitely qualifies as one. Their neighbors, television’s first interracial married couple Tom (Franklin Cover) and Helen Willis (Roxie Roker) turned Jeffersons in-laws when their daughter Jenny married Lionel. And in between moments of George calling Tom honky, dropping the N-bomb and making good on literally putting his foot up the butts out of the undesirables he kicked out of his home George eternally remained a good dad to Lionel, loving husband to Weezy and a good verbal sparring partner for sassy maid Florence (Marla Gibbs.)

 

 

1. (Tie) Good Times

This Maude spinoff was an instant trailblazer its depiction of the black family in America because it was the first. The genesis of its legendary status began behind the scenes when Esther Rolle, who played Evans family matriarch Florida Evans fought to have John Amos cast as her husband James when show producers were determined to make her a single mom. And right or wrong what a strong, kick ass and protective dad James Evans Jr. was to J.J.(Jimmie Walker), Thelma (BernNadette Stanis) and youngest son Michael (Ralph Carter). The Good Times television legacy will forever be marred and tarnished by critics, academics (and by cast mates Rolle and Amos) for supposedly relying too heavily on comic relief turned cultural phenom Walker's J.J. character and his Dy-no-mite catchphrase (see also sitcom entry# 4 on this list for Family Matters' depiction of Steve Urkel.) But 40 years later television audiences coast to coast and around the world still laugh at this cult classic hit. Not only has Good Times been a endless notable quotable in hip hop lyrics and spoofed for generations but it's especially relatable in these recession challenged times. The reason? Because the fictional Evans family taught us how to take the hard knocks and bad times of real life and always make them good.

 

 

1.  (Tie) The Cosby Show

When it debuted in 1984, Bill Cosby changed the face of the black family in America with this groundbreaking sitcom. Regardless of race creed or color never before or since has all of America and most of the world identified, emulated or wanted to be a Cliff, Clair (Phylicia Rashad), Sondra (Sabrina LeBeouf), Denise (Lisa Bonet), Theo (Malcolm Jamal Warner), Vanessa (Tempest Bledsoe) or Rudy Huxtable (Keisha Knight Pullinam). Never had television viewers ever laid eyes on such an attractive, clean cut brood of kids with a sexy set of parents who still looked like they were intimate. And to top it off this sophisticated bunch was living a very comfortable New York City urban Brooklyn upper middle class lifestyle. During the crack-infested social program deficient times of the Big 80s, The Cosby Show had detractors who criticized it for not being realistic to the plights of poorer blacks (see sitcom entry #9 Julia). But Cosby's behind the scenes efforts to be both funny and ensure that humor was never demeaning; resulted in a timeless, classic show that transcended race in its depiction of the American family. The Cosby Show was hilarious and smart without ever being stereotypical and raised the comedic standards bar of black situation comedy to heights it has not seen since the show ended in 1992.

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George Floyd Died From Homicide By Asphyxiation, Independent Autopsy Finds

George Floyd was asphyxiated to death from “sustained forceful pressure” that cut off blood flow to his brain, according to an independent autopsy performed by medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson.

The 46-year-old father died from “homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump announced on Monday (June 1).

“Sustained pressure on the right side of Mr. Floyd’s carotid artery impeded blood flow to the brain and weight on his back impeded his ability to breathe,” reads a statement posted to Crump’s Twitter account. “The independent examiners found that weight on the back, handcuffs, and positioning, were contributory factors because they impeded the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function.”

The autopsy also found that Floyd “died at the scene” and not at a hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

Fired Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin was filmed jamming his knee into Floyd’s neck ass he lay handcuffed on the ground, pleading for air. Two additional officers were helping to apply pressure to Floyd's body, while a fourth officer stood and watched. Chauvin was arrested on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges last week. The other officers, Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kuen and Tou Thao, have not been arrested.

“For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse. Beyond question, he would be alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by fired officer Derek Chauvin and the strain on his body from two additional officers kneeling on him,” Crump said. “Mr Floyd’s death was a homicide by officers who taunted him while holding him down for more than eight minutes. And the officer who stood by doing nothing was a physical blue shield — a living symbol of the code of silence.”

Floyd’s family ordered the private autopsy after the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office claimed that his death was caused by pre-existing health conditions.

“What we found is consistent with what people saw. There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death,” said Dr. Baden. “Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breath. That’s not true.”

Global protests continued to call for justice in the murders of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other victims of police brutality and racial violence.

Read the full autopsy statement below.

 

Independent medical examiners determined #GeorgeFloyd’s death was due to asphyxia from sustained forceful pressure. Full statement: pic.twitter.com/cIbWu8ssWX

— Benjamin Crump, Esq. (@AttorneyCrump) June 1, 2020

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Killer Mike Gives Emotional Speech Urging Peaceful Protests Amid Unrest In Atlanta

Killer Mike joined T.I., and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in delivering emotional pleas to discourage ATLiens from burning the city as protests broke out on Friday (May 29) in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless victims of police brutality.

“I don’t want to be here,” began Killer Mike. “I’m the son of an Atlanta city police officer, my cousin is a police officer…I got a lot of love and respect for police officers down to the original eight [Black] police officers in Atlanta that, even after becoming police, had to dress in a YMCA because white officers didn’t want to get dressed with ni**ers. And here we are, 80 years later and I watched a white officer assassinate a Black man and I know that tore your heart out. I know it’s crippling and I have nothing positive to say in this moment because I don’t want to be here.”

The Atlanta native went on to share background on his family’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, and other social justice issues. “I’m duty-bound to be here to simply say, 'It is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with the enemy.’”

In what turned out to be another viral moment, Tip called Atlanta “Wakanda” while imploring demonstrators not to destroy the city. “Atlanta has been here for us, this city don’t deserve that. I understand that a lot of others do, but we can’t do this here, this is Wakanda. It’s sacred. It must be protected,” said the 39-year-old rapper.

Mayor Bottoms simply told protestors to simply “go home.”

“Above everything else, I am a mother to four Black children in America, one of whom is 18 years old,” she said. “When I saw the murder of George Floyd, I hurt like a mother would hurt. Yesterday, when I heard there was a rumor about violent protests in Atlanta, I did what a mother would do: I called my son and I said ‘where are you?’ I said ‘I cannot protect you and Black boys shouldn’t be out today.’ So you’re not going to out-concern me, and out care about where we are in America.

“I wear this each and every day and I pray over my children each and every day. What I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos.”

WATCH: "If you love this city, go home!" https://t.co/c8cPBZLATJ pic.twitter.com/v9IEBVoXpB

— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) May 30, 2020

At the request of Mayor Bottoms, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency in Fulton County, and deployed 500 troops from the state's national guard.

They will deploy immediately to assist @ga_dps, @GaDNRLE, @GA_Corrections & local law enforcement who are working tirelessly to subdue unlawful activity & restore peace. We will continue to make all state resources available to local leaders during this emergency situation. (2/2)

— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) May 30, 2020

See Killer Mike's full statement below as well as photos and video of the protests.

A powerful scene in Atlanta right now, this gives me chills. pic.twitter.com/SK7oOvzs8g

— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) May 29, 2020

More shots from Atlanta tonight pic.twitter.com/TmUmW5nXxZ

— kieron (@kieroncg) May 30, 2020

The chief of police in Atlanta talking and listening to everyone that has something to say#ATLFORUS #AtlantaProtest pic.twitter.com/qirbQRgViU

— Lilly - BLACK LIVES MATTER (@joonhopekook) May 29, 2020

It’s not just Minneapolis, we are now seeing protests in cities across the country over the death of George Floyd. This is in Atlanta as some smash the glass at our downtown CNN headquarters. #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/iwJxFaUfxW

— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenez) May 30, 2020

Police cars getting literally destroyed in Atlanta outside the CNN Center pic.twitter.com/x5zRxZVQpb

— Fernando Alfonso III (@fernalfonso) May 29, 2020

Downtown Atlanta right now.... PEACEFUL PROTEST ! #BlackLivesMatter ! pic.twitter.com/6nejzqccVE

— KP 🦋. (@kailynnlee) May 29, 2020

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Breonna Taylor’s Family Vows To Continue Fight For Justice: “Please Keep Saying Her Name”

Breonna Taylor must not be forgotten. The family of the 26-year-old EMT who was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March, released a statement encouraging peaceful protests and the continued fight for justice.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear read the statement from Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, on CNN on Friday (May 29).

“Breonna devoted her own life to saving other lives, to helping others, to making people smile, and to bringing people together,” the statement reads. “The last thing she’d want right now is any more violence. Changes are being made, but it’s not enough. We will not stop until there is truth, justice and accountability. Breonna’s legacy will not be forgotten. And it’s because of all of us saying her name and demanding justice. We are saying her name more each day. Thank you.

“Please keep saying her name. Please keep demanding justice and accountability, but let’s do it the right way without hurting each other. We can, and we will make some real change here. Now’s the time. Let’s make it happen.”

Seven people were shot during a protest for Taylor in Louisville on Thursday (May 28). The shooting victims were treated and are in stable condition, according to Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher. Fisher also reposted a video message from Taylor’s family urging peace amid the protests.

A message from Breonna Taylor’s family urging protestors to be peaceful, go home and keep fighting for truth. pic.twitter.com/if5MH5UcCW

— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) May 29, 2020

On March 13, 2020, Louisville police officers kicked in Taylor’s door without warning and opened fire. Authorities claim that they were executing a “no-knock” search warrant stemming from an alleged drug investigation involving another man who did not live in Taylor’s home, and had already been arrested.

“Police just unloaded 25 to 30 rounds, I mean they’re shooting from the front door, they’re shooting from the window, they’re shooting from the patio,” attorney Benjamin Crump told Essence on Friday. “They’re so reckless, they shoot a bullet into the next door neighbor’s apartment where their five-year-old daughter is asleep in her room. “They didn’t even have to come in her [Taylor's] apartment. They already had the person they were searching for in custody.”

Taylor’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the LMPD accusing the department of excessive force and gross negligence. In wake of Taylor’s murder going public, LMPD has changed its policy and will now require no-knock warrants to have a police chief’s signature. The department also made it mandatory for LMPD officers to wear body cameras.

A 911 call made by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, after the shooting was made public on Thursday. “I don’t know what’s happening somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” Walker can be heard saying through tears. Police arrested Walker for shooting at cops whom he assumed were robbers. The charges were later dropped.

Listen to the emotional 911 call below.

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