**(Jimmie Walker) Rodney Washington, a car-thief turned auto re-possessor who
helped the Los Angeles police squad called B.A.D. C.A.T.S. (Burglary Auto
Detail, Commercial Auto Thefts). Also featured was LaWanda Page as Ma, the black
owner of Ma's Place, a local rib joint and favorite hangout of the policemen
attached to Burglary Auto Detail.
BABY I'M BACK/CBS/1978
*(Demond Wilson) Ray Ellis, a black man who returns to his Washington, D.C. home
(which he deserted seven years earlier due to the pressures of married life) to
reconcile with his wife and family. Unfortunately, Ray discovered he had just
been declared legally dead. Also included were Denise Nicholas as Ray's wife,
Olivia; Tony Holmes as their son, Jordan; Kim Fields as their daughter, Angie;
Helen Martin as Olivia's mother, Luzelle Carter; and Ed Hall as Army Colonel
Wallace Dickey, Olivia's fiance.
**(Francesca P. Roberts) Anita Craig, a black friend and babysitter of single
white woman with small child. Alicia & Celicia Johnson were featured as Anita's
baby, Danielle. (Vernee Watson-Johnson provided the voice for baby Danielle's
*(Richard Biggs/costar) Dr. Stephen Franklin, black Chief of Staff of Medlab
Facility (specialist in Xenobiology) aboard the space station Babylon 5 which
orbits planet Epsilon 3. Stephen resigned his position in August 2060 while
battling "stim" addiction. Before taking his assignment, Stephen bartered his
medical talents in exchange for passage aboard spacecrafts traveling to other
worlds, so that he could learn more about various alien races. He practices the
religious belief of "Foundationism." His father, Richard Franklin, is General of
the 356th Infantry Division of the Earth Force Marines and known by the
nicknames "Firestorm," "Hero of the Canal Wars," "Scourge of Janos 7," and
"Liberator of the African Block."
BACKSTAIRS AT THE WHITE HOUSE/NBC/1979 (Miniseries)
*(Olivia Cole) Maggie Roberts, a black hairdresser and maid who worked on the
staff of the White House. The miniseries followed the careers of Maggie and her
seamstress daughter, Lillian Rogers Parks (played by Tania Johnson and Leslie
Uggams) as they served a number of Presidents and their First Ladies over the
years (the Taft through Eisenhower administrations). Other cast included Louis
Gossett, Jr. as Levi the White House butler/footman.
*(Whoopi Goldberg) Brenda, a black owner of a roadside diner and motel called
the Bagdad Cafe' located in the California Mojave Desert. Other cast members
included Monica Calhoun as Brenda's boy-crazy sixteen year old daughter, Debbie;
Scott Lawrence as her musician son, Juney; and Cleavon Little as Sal, Brenda's
*(Giancarlo Esposito) Paul Gigante, a half-black, half-Italian police detective
who moves his family from Washington, D.C. to a mostly white desert community of
Bakersfield, California. There, he is teamed with a partner whose police
techniques were learned from watching television.
THE BARBARA MCNAIR SHOW/SYN/1969-71
*(Barbara McNair) Musical/variety series hosted by black song stress Barbara
BAREFOOT IN THE PARK/ABC/1970-71
*(Scoey Mitchlll) Paul Bratter, a newlywed black attorney for Kendricks, Keene &
Klein living in lower Manhattan with his wife, Corie (played by Tracy Reed).
Other regulars included Thelma Carpenter as Corie's, mother, Mable Bates; and
Nipsey Russell as pool hall owner, Honey Robinson.
**(Michael D. Roberts) Rooster, a colorful streetwise personality who provided
information to a white undercover detective.
**(Ron Glass) Ron Harris, a handsome, well-dressed black detective working in a
run-down Greenwich Village police precinct. His character was an aspiring
novelist who eventually had his first book "Blood on the Badge" successfully
published. On the series last episode, Harris decided to become a full-time
**(Eartha Kitt) Catwoman, a pur-r-r-r-fectly sinister leather-clad Gotham City
criminal who kept crime fighters Batman and Robin on their toes. Earth Kitt
inherited the role of Catwoman from two white actresses (Julie Newmar & Lee
Meriweather) who previously played this perfidious kitty character.
**(Bokeem Woodbine) Derek, a black police detective working together with police
offers from all walks of life in NY’s Battery Park.
**(Terry Carter) Colonel Tigh, a high ranking black officer on-board the space
cruiser Battlestar Galactica who helped lead an armada of 220 smaller spacecraft
to safety from the evil robot Cylon warriors. Herb Jefferson, Jr. also appeared
as Lt. Boomer, a black fighter pilot.
BAY CITY BLUES/NBC/1983
**(Bernie Casey) Thomas "Ozzie" Peoples, black baseball coach who motivated the
players of the Bluebirds, a minor-league baseball team in the working-class town
of Bay City, California. Also featured was Mykel T. Williamson as Deejay
**(Traci Bingham) Jordan Tate, black female lifeguard working on the beaches of
Santa Monica during seasons 7-8. Jordon became romantically involved with white
lifeguard, Mitch Buchannon. She later discovers that she is adopted, that her
black Marine father was killed in Vietnam, her white birth mother gave her up
for adoption in 1972; and years later her mother tracked her down to inform her
she might be susceptible to Huntington Disease (her mother had the brain disease
and there was a 50% chance of Jordon inheriting it). Traci Bingham, the first
black "actress" to appear as a regular on the series, is half Afro-American,
part Cherokee Indian (father is Cherokee) and part Italian. Other cast included
Greg Alan-Williams as Sgt. Garner Ellerbee, a black Baywatch lifeguard patrolman
who appeared during seasons 1-5. Greg was the first black "actor" to appear as a
regular on the series.
**(Dorian Gregory) Diamont Teague, a black agent for a secret organization who
interacted with Mitch Bucannan, a white Malibu-based private detective who
investigated the bizarre and supernatural (vampires, witches, demons, etc.).
**(Alex Desert) Jake Malinak, the blind black man who operates the
newspaper/candy concession stand inside a Bronx diner. He is the reluctant
confidant of Dr. Becker, a Caucasian physician who frequents the joint and
rambles on about how rotten things are in the world. Once when angered, Jake
shouted “Don’t screw with me. I’m blind and I sell chiclets for a living.”
Desert’s mother, father, and big brother are all natives of Haiti, but Desert is
the first member of his family to be born on American soil. He is also one of
the lead singers in Hepcat, a ska/reggae band that has toured the United States
and Europe with the likes of music groups The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The
Specials. Also featured is Dr. Becker's black medical office manager, Margaret
Wyborn played by Hattie Winston.. Winston was born in Lexington, Mississippi,
and raised in nearby Greenville.
BEN VEREEN...COMIN' AT YA/NBC/1975
*(Ben Vereen) Ben Vereen, talented black actor and singer hosted this summer
musical variety program. Song stress Lola Falana was a regular on the program.
*(Robert Guillaume) Benson Dubois, a wisecracking black butler sent by a wealthy
family (See also SOAP) to the governor's mansion to assist in running the
household. Benson's talents for organization and problem solving were later
rewarded with a promotion to the job of state budget director.
*(Chip McAllister, Guy Killum/co-stars) Luther Cain (a wisecracker) and Anthony
"Snake" Johnson (very hip), two black high school basketball players at Buckner
high school in Brooklyn, who befriend a white transfer student from California.
Also featured was Richard McGregor, as Beat-Box.
*(Kadeem Hardison/costar) Charles Winston, highly responsible, highly meticulous
black sportswriter who hangs with three other black single men struggling to
make it professionally and romantically in the Windy City (Chicago). Also
featured were Dondré T. Whitfield as James Winston, Charles’ brother, an
easy-going real estate and ladies man; Tommy Davidson as Mitchell Ford, a
twice-divorced high school teacher; Kelly Perine as Dusty Canyon, a weatherman
with bad fashion sense; and Rachel Crawford as Terri, the boy’s favorite
waitress at their local bar. The program was an African-American version of the
successful NBC sitcom FRIENDS.
*(Ethel Waters/Louise Beavers) Beulah, TV's favorite black maid who always
rescued the Hendersons, her bumbling white employers from predicaments. The
character of Beulah first appeared on the radio program "Fibber McGee and Molly"
(voice of white male Marlin Hurt). Later the character starred on radio series
THE MARLIN HURT AND BEULAH SHOW and finally BEULAH. Other regulars on the
television series included Percy "Bud" Harris & Dooley Wilson as Bill Jackson,
Beulah's shiftless boyfriend; and Butterfly McQueen as Oriole, Beulah's friend
and fellow maid. Additional actors to perform the voice of the Beulah character
on the original radio program included Bob Corley (a white male), Lillian
Randolph, Hattie McDaniel and Louise Beavers. Like the earlier Amos and Andy
Show, Beulah was also pulled from syndication because of NAACP protests.
BEULAH LAND/1980 (Miniseries)
**(Dorian Harewood) Floyd, black slave living on a Georgian plantation during
the early-to-mid 1800s who was eventually touched by the events of the Civil
BEVERLY HILLS 90210/FOX/1990-2000
**(Cory Tyler) Herbert, the first black regular on the series who befriends a
bunch of white yuppies in the 1992 season. Michael Anthony Rawlins as Jordon
Bonner appeared in a recurring role during the 1992-1993 season.
*(Natalie Cole) Natalie Cole, the black hostess of this talent show that
featured a hunt for wanna-be-singers with weekly winners and semi-final
BIG BROTHER JAKE/FAM/1990-94
*(Barbara Meek/costar) Connie Duncan, aka "Ma," a black woman who runs an
interracial foster home in Brooklyn, New York. Gabrielle Carmouche appeared as
Kateri, a studious young black girl who lived at the foster home.
**(Ralph Wilcox) Raymond McKay, a jive-talking black business associate of
Edward "Big Eddie" Smith, the owner of the Big E Sports Arena in New York City.
THE BIG VALLEY/ABC/1965-69
**(Napoleon Whiting) Silas, a black house servant for the Barkley's, a wealthy
western family living on a large Ranch outside Stockton, California in the late
THE BILL COSBY SHOW/NBC/1969-71
*(Bill Cosby) Chet Kincaid, a bachelor physical education teacher and coach who
worked in a lower-middle class Los Angeles high school. Chet's family members
were Lillian Randolph & Beah Richards as his mother, Rose; Lee Weaver as his
brother, Brian; and Olga James as his sister-in-law, Verna.
**(CCH Pounder) Nurse Lucy, the no-nonsense black head nurse employed at the
psychiatric section of Riverside Hospital in Oakland, California.
B. L. STRYKER/1989-90
**(Ossie Davis) Oz Jackson, a loyal older black friend of white New Orleans cop,
B .L. Stryker living in Palm Beach, Florida. Oz was an ex-prizefighter with at
least one fight left in him (so he thought).
**(Ray J Norwood) Bryan Lanier, a black streetwise teenage hipster with a heart
of gold who takes Chinese style martial arts lessons from Master Li and Tom
Chang at their wharf-side studio in San Francisco. TRIVIA NOTE: Raised in
Southern California, actor Ray J is a McComb, Mississippi native. He is the
brother of singer/actress Brandy and probably best known for his role on his
sister’s series MOESHA playing her cousin (later revealed to be her brother).
Ray J and his family created the Norwood Kids Foundation, a charitable
organization that has provided activities through performing arts for more than
250 disadvantaged and at-risk youth.
**(Josette Simon) Dayna Mellanby, a black female weapons expert whose family was
wiped out by an evil futuristic Federation. Bent on revenge, she joined forces
with resistance fighters in the third season of this British science fiction
series, syndicated on the PBS Network in the late 1980's.
**(Adilah Barnes) Eve Munroe, a sarcastic but highly efficient black secretary
at Blue Skies Trading Company, a outdoor-goods mail-order catalog business.
**(Bubba Smith) Lyman "Bubba" Kelsey, a black support team member for an elite
police squad which operated a super-helicopter named Blue Thunder.
BODIES OF EVIDENCE/CBS/1992-93
*(Al Fann/costar) Det. Walt Stratton, black homicide detective working with the
Metropolitan Police, Westside Division of the LAPD. Walt was near retirement and
always wore a fedora hat. Also featured was Lorraine Toussaint as Dr. Mary
Rocket, a black psychiatrist who consulted on homicide cases.
**(Davis Roberts) Mr. Johnson, an old blind, blues guitarist who encouraged and
advised an up-and-coming white rock n' roller living in rural Trinity, Tennessee
in the early 1950's.
**(Telma Hopkins) Isabelle, attractive aspiring black actress who lived at the
Susan B. Anthony Hotel for women in New York City. She later became the hotel
**(Tasha Smith) Tasha King, a salty administrative assistant for the student
union at Randolph Harrington College in Boston. Her razor wit was the foil for
Boyd, a white country bumpkin coworker. She called everyone "Baby" as a sign of
affection. Garrett Morris (of “Saturday Night Live” fame) appeared as Tasha’s
grandfather, the legendary blues singer who composed the classic “Drop Dead
BOY MEETS WORLD/ABC/1993-99
**(Trina McGee-Davis) Angela Moore, an attractive black teenage girlfriend of
Shawn Hunter, a white youth living in Philadelphia. The Angela character debuted
during the 1997 season. Angela and Shawn have developed an on again/off again
romance but in the meantime they have enjoyed kissing each other on a number of
*(Oprah Winfrey) Mattie Michael, a black woman and co-owner of a restaurant
living in a Chicago tenement in the 1960's. Olivia Cole appeared as Miss Sophie,
Mattie's business partner and Brenda Pressley costarred as their friend, Etta
Mae Johnson. The series was based on Gloria Naylor's inspired 1989 TV-movie
"Women of Brewster Place".
*Musical/variety program originally called BROADWAY MINSTRELS featuring an all
black cast. After two weeks on the air it changed it's title to BROADWAY
JAMBOREE and starred both black and white performers. Black entertainers
included the Melodeers quintet, the Deep River Boys, Theodore Hines, Maxine
Sullivan, Tom Fletcher and the dance team of Carl & Haryette.
*(Ernie Hudson/costar) Toby Baker, a black detective working undercover with a
group of police officers who (including himself) were on psychological
THE BRONX ZOO/NBC/1987-88
**(Mykel T. Williamson) Gus Butterfield, a young black teacher with a Masters in
Biology who was given a basketball and told to teach gym class until there was
an opening in the science department at Benjamin Harrison High School (aka "The
Bronx Zoo") in New York City. Also featured were Tyra Farrell as Roberta, an
administrative worker; and Gail Boggs as Roz, a troubled student who was called
crazy by her peers.
*(Klea Scott/costar) Nona Valentine, African-American uniformed police officer
assigned to the 74th precinct in Brooklyn, New York. Also on the beat was
Richard T. Jones as Officer Clement Johnson.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS/NBC/1979
*(Randy Brooks)/costar) Ronald Holmes III, the token black member at Pi Nu
Fraternity, the zany frat house nicknamed "Le Dump" on the campus of Larry
Krandall College. Also featured was LaWanda Page as Hattie. Randy Brooks has
also played a number of daytime opera characters including Hayes Grady on “All
My Children” (1996); Marshall Lincoln Kramer III on “Another World” (1994-95);
Eric Royal on “Generations” (1990-91); Desmond on Days Of Our Lives” (1988); and
Nathan Hasting on “The Young and the Restless.”
*(Dave Chappelle/costar) Dave Carlisle, a single African-American who co-owned a
fledgling film and video company with his white married friend, John Butler.
Richard Roundtree played Dave's dad Henry, who owned the building where the two
friends' office was located.
**(Charles Robinson) Newdell, a tough-minded black make-up man who worked for a
talk show host at WBFL-TV in Buffalo, New York. Meshach Taylor also appeared as
Tony, station crew member. On one episode, Bill Bittinger, the station's
opinionated talk show host had a run in with Newdell. That night Bill had a
dream inhabited by a number of stereotypical black images like Zulu warriors,
and nasty black hookers who chased Bill through a nightmarish landscape
accompanied by Ray Charles' tune "Hit the Road Jack."
BUILT TO LAST/NBC/1997-98
*(Royale Watkins) Royale Watkins, a black computer programmer leaves Hollywood
to return home to help his Washington, D.C.-based family contracting business
after his father had a heart attack. Regulars included Paul Winfield as the
family patriarch Russel Watkins; Natalie Desselle as Tammy Watkins; J. Lamont
Pope as Randal Watkins; Denise Y. Dowse as Sylvia Watkins; Geoffrey Owens as
Robert Watkins; and Jeremy Suarez as the youngest sibling Ryce Watkins.
THE BURNING ZONE/UPN/1996-97
*(James Black/costar) Michael Hailey, a black scientist teamed to a squad of
special researchers who track down and contain new strains of viruses
threatening to wipe out mankind.
*(Jimmy Walker) Sonny Barnes, small-time conman who got sentenced to community
service helping a social worker care for four orphans living with her in
Philadelphia. Other cast included Vonetta McGee as social worker Mimi Shaw;
Larry Williams as Rudey Baker; Aaron Lohr as Nickky Robinson; Tyren Perry as
Trish Reagan and Marie Lynnwise as Sue Ann Tyler. The series was loosely based
on the film "Bustin' Loose" (1981) staring Richard Pryor and Cicely Tyson.
**(Ralph Wilcox) Raymond St. Williams, hip black youth who worked at Mr.
Cabell's shoe store with a twenty-year-old Jewish guy named Lenny Markowitz.
THE BYRON ALLEN SHOW/SYN/1989-92
*(Byron Allen) Byron Allen, black comedian who hosted this weekly hour talk
Back to Top