TV Dads do not always get the best representation. Often times they are portrayed as dumb, clumsy, or mean (see: Peter Griffin, Al Bundy, Archie Bunker). The subject becomes more nuances when discussing black fathers on television. The pressure is always on to present black dads in the appropriate light as not to encourage stereotypes or bad role models. However, even when trying their best, TV does not always get it right. Recently Twitter users debated who are the world Black TV dads, and Moesha’s father is at the top of the list.
Who’s the worst Black TV dad of all time? Im going Frank Mitchell all day everyday.— D Piddy (@Blackkout__) July 31, 2021
A few weeks ago, a Twitter user posted, “Who’s the worst Black TV dad of all time? I’m going Frank Mitchell all day every day.” The tweet quickly picked up traction, even getting reposted on The Shade Room. Again, people lit up the comments, both agreeing and also offering up their own candidates from work television dads.
One user took issues with actor Anthony Anderson and his Black-ish character. Claiming the father appears uninterested in the majority of his kids aside from the character Zoey. Another chimed in, saying that Anthony’s character Dre is closely modeled after him and call them both “annoying.” However, others defend him, claiming the character is just old school. “Though his insistence on the old ways can be a little misguided, his rigidity is for the betterment of his family.”
Over on Instagram, one person said, “Terry Cruz on Everybody Hates Chris ….Just because he is a clown in real life”. However, TV insider does list his Brooklyn Nine-Nine character Sgt. Terry Jeffords as one of their favorite TV Dads.
Will Smith’s father on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air popped up a few times as well. He famously came back in Will’s life on the show, only to leave without saying goodbye. The heartbreaking scene seems to go viral once a year.
Some shifted from sitcom dads to drama, pointing out the fathers on the series Power. Most specifically, 50 Cent’s character Kanan who took his own son’s life on the show. Others argue that the lead character Ghost is quite possibly the worst.
Frank Mitchell played by William Allen Young undoubtedly topped everyone’s lists. The TV dad was not so bad at the top of the series, with many defending his sternness in light of how “grown” Moesha was. Unfortunately, the 5th season decided to give him an edge, introducing Ray J as a runaway nephew that turns out to be a secret son he father during an affair before Moesha’s mom passed away. Heavy stuff for a sitcom starring America’s sweetheart.
Brandy’s TV brother Miles, played by Marcus Paulk, defended his TV, stating that the growing popularity of reality television led the network to believe they needed more drama. He also says that Brandy made them write her brother into the show, which resulted in the messy story line that derailed the program. See his response below.