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On-screen matriarchs

IN HONOUR of Mother’s Day, we’re listing some of our favourite mums who ruled their households on the small screen. We’ve learned from them, we’ve laughed with them and we’ve surely quoted their often quick-witted advice. From Shirley Ambrose to Vivian Banks, here are some of our most-loved TV mothers.

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Shirley Ambrose, Desmond’s

The backbone of the barbershop and the Ambrose family, Shirley – played by Carmen Munroe – never failed to speak with the voice of reason.

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Dee Mitchell, Moesha

In the first several episodes of Moesha, it was clear that Dee – played by Sheryl Lee Ralph – and her stepdaughter Moesha (Brandy Norwood) were still adjusting to life in the Mitchell household. But before long, Moesha found that she could confide in Dee about love, sex and aspirations.

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Clair Huxtable, The Cosby Show

Clair – played by the talented Phylicia Rashad – was a partner in a law firm, a loving wife and a nurturing mother. Smart, quick-witted and even-keeled, Clair presided as a loving disciplinarian for her kids, her grandchildren and, often, her own husband.

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Lisa Landry, Sister, Sister

Lisa Landry had an interesting predicament as a mum. She found out her adopted daughter, Tia, had a twin. Instead of prohibiting a relationship between the twins, Lisa stepped up and became a mother figure to Tamera, too.

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Rochelle Rock, Everybody Hates Chris

Rochelle knew how to handle her household and didn’t take any nonsense from her kids. She had several hysterical quotes – which was usually a threat to one of her three children.

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Pearl Foster, The Fosters

Played by the late Canadian actress Isabelle Lucas, phlegmatic mother Pearl Foster was the matriarch of the first British sitcom starring black actors. The Fosters showcased the early work of Lenny, Henry and also Norman Beaton and Carmen Munroe who reunited for their roles in Desmond’s.

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Vivian Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

More commonly known as Aunt Viv, Vivian Banks – who was first played by Janet Hubert before being replaced with Daphne Reid – was a hard-working professor who cared for and supported her three kids and nephew.

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Gladys Adebanjo, Meet the Adebanjos

Played by actress Yetunde Oduwole, Mrs Adebanjo was always trying to keep her kids on the straight and narrow while taking care of not only her erratic husband, but also her eccentric sister.

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Janet ‘Jay’ Kyle, My Wife and Kids

Jay Kyle was a fun and sassymum, but she also served as the voice of reason, which was necessary when you consider how crazy her husband was!

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Rainbow Johnson, Black-ish

Black-ish’s Rainbow is leading the new age of the black TV mum. She’s a mixed race doctor who makes baked chicken instead of fried chicken and loves her kids’ colour-blindness.

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