BY PENNY DICKERSON
The positive contributions of the Black family as viable entertainment was unequivocally proven when the iconic sitcom “Good Times” aired on CBS. A formidable millennium-match is ABC’s hyphenated, smart comedy, “Black-ish.’’ Select cast members from both shows will be on hand to greet fans at the 2015 Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion Sept. 3-7 for star-studded concerts, seminars and events for family members of all ages.
John Amos and Esther Rolle made famous their roles in “Good Times’’ as struggling urban parents James and Florida Evans when the show fixated American audiences in 1974.
Depicted as an asphalt-poor family of five living cramped in an inner-city Chicago housing project, their residential dwelling is the polar opposite of the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando where Joyner invites the public to party. But it is free, and there will be “Good Times.”
More ‘Good Times’
Father figure James worked multiple menial jobs with temporary layoffs and paying next month’s rent was always a hustle and hassle unlike Joyner who hosts a No. 1 syndicated radio program that affords him an outlet to raise more than $60 million for students to attend historically Black colleges and universities through his Tom Joyner Foundation. A life advanced by higher education ensures “Good Times.”
The show’s main character Jimmie Walker served comedic genius as the lanky, bucket hat wearing oldest son “J.J.” who coined the phrase heard around the world: “Dy-no-mite.” Middle daughter “Thelma” played by BernNadette Stanis personified the femme descript “Fine,” but it was youngest son Michael, “The Militant Midget,” played by Ralph Carter who drove the theme: We are poor, but a proud Black Family.
In a quantum leap of cultural assimilation, Anthony Anderson plays father Dre Johnson in the current ABC show, “Black-ish.” Leading the Johnson family, he has a fabulous job, huge suburban home, four kids and a beautiful wife named “Rainbow,” played by Tracee Ellis Ross. A “Good Time” for this family is a “black break for white yogurt,” but, they too, are proud and personify why since 2003, Tom Joyner’s “family party with a purpose” is the perfect choice to celebrate America’s Black family with “Good Times.”