Black love: ahhhh, what a beautiful thing, especially when it’s on TV. There are the special moments between Cliff and Clair on The Cosby Show; the cute affection between Dwayne and Whitley on A Different World; even the adorable stalking of Nikki Parker and Professor Oglevee on The Parkers. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we can’t help but love Black love on TV. Despite trying times, whether reality or fiction, there’s nothing stronger than the union between African-American men and women.–Andrew Asare
1. The Cosby Show. Heathcliff and Clair Huxtable are the quintessential, untouchable Black couple: successful, attractive, and rascally. Despite raising five kids and three grands, they still kept it hot with their special waltz to classic jazz and tantalizing foot rubs. Over 20 years later, there’s nothing that beats the immaculate chemistry.
2. Good Times. Though money was scarce and the environment dangerous, the love between Florida and James Evans kept them rich for three TV seasons. Between battling the day-to-day harsh realities of Chicago, and raising a “DYN-O-MITE” three kids, the kinship between Flo and James proved Black couples can still “make a way.”
3. Family Matters. Not even a pesky, annoying little dweeb Steve Urkel could come in between the marriage of Carl and Harriette Winslow when it came to the couple’s love on Family Matters. During their eight-year run, the two danced into our hearts and kept the matters of family a priority, all while still keeping their union steamy in-between family talks.
4. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Philip Banks was the domineering, stern-but-loving uncle, Vivian Banks was the “don’t start none, won’t be none” auntie with a fierce body for dancing. Together, their love was a foundation for a troubled Philly teen in the classic 1990s sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Though the two were a bit opposite on how to discipline their nephew from time to time, Phil and Viv came together in agreement on one thing: making love.
5. A Different World. The love between Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert is what everyone pursues higher education for—that and getting a degree, of course. For six seasons on A Different World, the friendship between Wayne and Gilbert manifested into a beautiful marriage, telling us that when it comes to matters of the heart, opposites truly do attract.
6. The Jeffersons. George and Louise Jefferson showed us that no matter how many zeroes you acquire in your bank account, when you “movin’ on up,” it’s always good to lock elbows with love.
7. The Real Housewives of Atlanta/I Dream of NeNe. NeNe Leakes is the “rich bitch” with a knack for a hustle, and Gregg Leakes is the OG with swag. Together, these two are proof that love is even better the second time around. For six seasons on The Real Housewives of Atlanta and one season on I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding, the Leakeses have taught us that, camera crew or not, real Black love will always be TV ratings gold.
8. T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle. Through three seasons of their popular VH1 reality show, Atlanta’s T.I. and Tameka “Tiny” Harris have shown us you can have “whatever you like” in love and family.
9. Soul Food. Real love comes from the soul, and with Kenny (Rockmond Dunbar) and Maxine (Vanessa Williams), there was always more than enough. Though the two weathered some trying times—Kenny’s affair, Brooke’s learning disability—the couple still demonstrated that, despite marital issues, a burning desire between a man and his wife is indeed “good for the soul.”
10. The Parkers. Don’t believe in being persistent when it comes to the matters of the heart? Take note of Nikki Parker and Professor Stanley Oglevee. For six seasons on The Parkers, Nikki didn’t stop her pursuit—come denial from friends, family, even the Professor himself—and the result: a finale with a wedding, at last!