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Once upon a time, there was a phenomenon called black television.

There are now entire networks dedicated to black programming, but there was once a time when the boom of black TV was staggering. It was a triumph, because in the early days of television, black actors only found work in stereotypical roles. It wasn't until the 1950s that Amos 'n' Andy became the first situational comedy with an all-black cast. However, the show was removed from the air because of complaints that it continued to perpetuate stereotypes.

Black sitcoms were largely dormant until the '70s, then finally hitting a stride in the '80s. In the '90s, that stride became a sprint, with networks scrambling to reach black audiences. This coincided with a celebration of black culture, as Afrocentrism was embraced by hip-hop and it became commonplace to see Malcolm X hats and Howard University sweatshirts in music videos and in the streets. It felt like the perfect marriage of African-American culture and popular culture.

The number of black sitcoms has declined greatly since those glory days, but the most memorable shows have left an impressive legacy. For this reason, we recall the 25 best black sitcoms of all time.

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Written by Julian Kimble (@JRK316)

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