12 Black TV Best Friends We'll Always Love

By Raisa Habersham

There are too many people who share this myth that Black women cannot pay another woman a compliment. There are also too many people who think Black women cannot be friends with another Black woman. Aside from my own experiences with my Black female friends, black-centered TV shows (reality TV be damned) have depicted realistic portrayals of Black female friendships that make me – and others – gush over confiding in someone with shared experiences. Granted, television isn’t always as accurate as we’d want it to be with the incessant portrayals of “the bitter black woman” trope or the “jezebel” narrative. But there’s something that wafts through my spirit seeing Black girls and women interact on screen in ways society has tried to hide. These representations dismiss the three-pronged monolithic narrative of “Sapphire,” “Jezebel” and “Bitter” ascribed to us. Here are 12 TV best friends we love to laugh at (and with) with our best gal pals.

Nikki and Andell (The Parkers)

There’s always that friend who gets you in trouble and you help them get you both out of it. That’s exactly how Nikki (portrayed by Mo’Nique) and Andell’s (portrayed by Yvette Wilson) relationship operates. While Nicki’s shenanigans are often well-intentioned (despite her chasing after “The Professor”), Andell’s level-headedness rounds out the twosome’s sisterly bond.

Kim, Moesha and Niecy (Moesha)

I like to look at Kim (portrayed by Countess Vaughn), Mo (portrayed by Brandy Norwood) and Niecy (portrayed by Shar Jackson) as The Triple Threat: the singer, the writer and the dancer. The trio made for great laughs but also were able to confront each other (especially Moesha) about their issues. Though they split up after college (with Kim attending school with her mother, Nikki), their bond showed the beauty of battling high school woes with girls who always have your back.

Tia and Tamera (Sister, Sister)

Sisters are often your first best friend and the “Twintuition” between real sisters Tia and Tamera Mowry couldn’t have been more adorable. Seemingly sisters from different misters, fictional Tia and Tamera rebuke the idea that just because you’re twins you have to be the exact same person. But that didn’t stop them from knowing and understanding each other’s feelings.

Maya, Lynn, Toni and Joan (Girlfriends)

The theme song told it all for the four-letter quartet: “my girlfriends, there through thick and thin.” There wasn’t one above the other (unless you were Toni) when it came to supporting each other and telling you what you wanted to hear even when you didn’t want to. Their relationship cultivated a bond few see on the TV screen today.

Lovita and Regina (The Steve Harvey Show)

Watching The Steve Harvey Show, I never thought the Lovita/Regina friendship would happen. Their attitudes were completely different, which surely would’ve made for a blow up at some point. Luckily, it didn’t or else we wouldn’t have seen the “shero”-isms that Lovita (portrayed by Terry J. Vaughn) gained from Regina (portrayed by Wendy Raquel Robinson) and the shining example of a supportive Black woman for Regina. Their teamwork was just as unbeatable, proving that two heads (no matter how different) are better than one.

Pam and Gina (Martin)

Who didn’t love Pam and Gina’s relationship? These two are perhaps the earliest example I saw of sistahs supporting sistahs, who also happened to be portrayed by real life best friends Tisha Campbell (Gina) and Tichina Arnold (Pam). The career women showed how beneficial it is to have a peer in your industry encouraging you to take that raise or that promotion (especially when earned). And I’m sure it isn’t bad having a friend tag-team you in when your man is being stubborn (to put it lightly) or when the neighbor from hell is constantly harassing you. Pam and Gina defy the box Black women are placed in, reminding people they were forces to be reckoned with in the boardroom and with their men.

Wilona and Florida (Good Times)

If you’re going to struggle, struggle with someone who can make you laugh. Flo (portrayed by Esther Rolle) and Wilona’s (portrayed by Ja’Net DuBois) friendship survived abusive mothers, a deceased husband, and late bills. What made their friendship even more beautiful was their ability to lean on each other in their time of need. There are times when friendships test the waters, but Wilona and Florida’s only strengthened.

Kim and Whitley (A Different World)

If Kim, Mo and Niecy shaped high school friendships, Kim (portrayed by Charnele Brown) and Whitley (portrayed by Jasmine Guy) defined the meaning of college ones. While it seems as if no one could get along with Ms. Gilbert, Kim’s headstrong spirit managed to pierce through Whitley’s divadom, reminding us that opposites do attract. There to lean on each other with relationship problems, the twosome also encouraged the other to take risks.

Penny and Dijonay (The Proud Family)

I couldn’t wait to get home to see Penny Proud (voiced by Kyla Pratt) and the gang get in and out of trouble. Her life was very relatable for me, especially her friendship with Dijonay (voiced by Karen Malina White). Their high school adventures harken back to the worry-free days of simply talking on the phone to your bestie and being a carefree Black girl. The duo fought bullies (when they could) and gushed on crushes. Penny and Dijonay represent the good ole days for Black girls dealing with minute issues – and younger siblings.

Breanna and Spirit (One on One)

Breanna and Spirit remind me of a real-life Penny (voiced by Kyla Pratt who also starred as the One on One lead) and Dijonay: both young ladies were boy-crazy girls navigating high school problems. Their multifacetedness shined through the screen, each encouraging the other to embrace her differences. Though the two got into trouble with Breanna’s father, Flex, they often were able to charm their way back on his good side. Pratt and co-star Sicily Sewell are also real life friends.

Mary, Pearl and Rose (227)

There was no better gossip spoken than on the footsteps of the apartment building 227. From Pearl (portrayed by Helen Martin) hanging out her window to Mary’s shenanigans and Rose’s well-to-do attitude, you were bound to get a good laugh with old friends who were also active in their communities. While the threesome occasionally included Saaandra Claaark (portrayed by Jackée Harry), her back and forths with Mary (portrayed by Marla Gibbs) are a simple reminder that wit was everything with them. Mary, Pearl and Rose (portrayed by Alaina Reed-Hall) are what some hope to be: older women reaping the fruits of loving friendships on their doorsteps.

Khadijah, Maxine, Regine and Sinclair (Living Single)

The epitome of womanhood, these sistahs also represent the soul of a solid friendship. Who but Sinclair can woo-woo-woo you out of a funk? Who but Maxine Shaw can wrangle you out of a legal fit? Who but Regine can style you for your first, second and third date? And who but Khadijah will make sure your achievements are profiled in Flava? Separately, these women symbolize what every woman wants in a friend: an uplifter who has your back in times of dire need and dead beat mean. But together they are the quintessential “go ‘head girl” pack that you need.

While these friendships had their differences, not once were they created to make a Black woman feel bad about her being. Further, they served as positive reinforcement to what it means to cultivate sisterhood. These friendships show we don’t need a white female sidekick standing beside us to uplift us or to even make us feel superior. Our sistahs are all we need in the end.

Raisa Habersham is an Atlanta-based freelancer who has written for USA Today College and AllDigitocracy.com. She is also News and Features Editor for VOX Teen Communications where she develops teens’ journalistic skills. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at the handle @newsworthy17.