People Are Sharing Which Black Characters Made Them Feel Seen On TV, And The Nostalgia Might Make You Tear Up

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I'm ~still~ obsessed with Raven Baxter's wardrobe to this day.

We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which Black TV characters inspired them and made them feel seen. Here are the heartwarming results:

Note: Some submissions were pulled from BuzzFeed Community comments on this post and this one.

1. Carlton Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

"I grew up in South Central LA (the hood), but went to school in one of the wealthiest — and whitest — parts of Los Angeles on a transfer. I was top of my class, on the chess team, and played the violin. Carlton was a Black kid like me, and his character helped me ignore all the people who said my personality and interests made me less Black."


2. Denise Huxtable from The Cosby Show

NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

"Denise Huxtable was the first time I remember really seeing myself and who I aspire to be in a character. She was aware and outspoken, as well as different from the rest of her family. She was willing to break away from the mold. I really think this is a testament to Lisa Bonet in particular. She breathed life into the character. Additionally, she stood up for herself and others when she left the show."


3. Virgil Hawkins from Static Shock

Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

"Virgil was a nerdy, intelligent Black kid who liked comic book heroes and video games. He always tried to do the right thing and didn't fit into the stereotypes people told him he was supposed to be."


4. Raven from That's So Raven

Disney Channel / Courtesy Everett Collection

"It seemed like she was unapologetically Black (especially on Disney Channel), and she got to have normal teen girl issues (not every episode was about her being Black), but they also didn't ignore her or her family's Blackness."


"I have been a huge fan of her since I was little. Growing up and watching That’s So Raven about a confident, curvy, Black girl who is, out of all things, a psychic. Seeing her and how she carried herself made me believe that one day it was possible for me to be on TV. She helped me understand that it’s OK to be yourself, and you don’t have to trade your character for success."


5. Storm from X-Men: The Animated Series

Fox Kids

"STORM!!!!! She was the best character and such a badass! I was/am obsessed with her dramatic way of calling out her powers before she kicked some ass! Right from Episode 1: 'Storm, Mistress of the Elements, commands you to release that child!'"


6. Maxine Shaw and Khadijah James from Living Single

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

"They knew what they wanted and worked hard to get it."


7. Cornelius Fillmore from Fillmore!

Toon Disney

"I always liked how cool and smart Cornelius Fillmore was."


8. Tia and Tamara from Sister, Sister

Paramount Television / Courtesy Everett Collection

"I loved Tia and Tamara; I loved their style!"


9. T.J. Henderson from Smart Guy

The WB

"Just a sweet kid who really liked learning. I do wish it had more in-your-face culture-clashing, but it was the '90s, and talking about Black culture on Disney wasn’t part of the mold. As a little 12-year-old Black boy, it was nice seeing another one be successful and enjoy life."


10. Chyna Parks from A.N.T. Farm

Disney Channel / Courtesy Everett Collection

"Growing up as a young Black girl, I had never really seen a female lead on Disney Channel who looked like me. I wanted to be ~just~ like her; I remember when Target partnered with Disney Channel and had an A.N.T Farm collection of clothes and accessories, and I wanted to get EVERYTHING. Definitely one of my favorites as a kid!"


11. Gus from Psych

USA Networks / Courtesy Everett Collection

"Gus knows WHO HE IS. He works hard and always tried to do what’s right. He is unapologetic about his quirks, he’s fun, and he’s a relentlessly good friend. He recognizes that he is a 'token Black guy' to those that just meet him, but never forgets that he's more than that — thanks to his friends who surround him, constantly build him up, and remind him (and others) of his value and importance."


12. Mercedes Jones from Glee

Adam Rose / Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

"Seeing a big Black girl helped me recognize much of her positive attributes in myself. Her grit and positivity — even when everyone is beating her down — is really inspiring, and Amber Riley is just as amazing!"


13. Nyota Uhura from Star Trek

Courtesy Everett Collection

"Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series (and the movies)."


14. Cyborg from Teen Titans

Cartoon Network / Courtesy Everett Collection

"I will never forget the episode when Starfire was being called a racial slur and Cyborg talks to her about it. As a teenager, that is how I came to understand the meaning of the n-word, or any other racial slur. Starfire said that 'Troq' meant that she was being called nothing, and the realization on Cyborg's face sent a shiver down to my soul. Why? Because I knew that Cyborg understood what it meant to be called or treated like nothing, just like I did. Sure, I grew up in the All That era, but this scene was so impactful to me that I use it when I'm teaching my kids about race, racism, and activism."


15. The cast of A Different World

Carsey-Werner Co / Courtesy Everett Collection

"This was the first time I saw Black kids in college. Each character was unique, and it highlighted that not only do Black people come in different shades, but we have different backgrounds and stories to tell."


16. Lisa Turtle from Saved by the Bell


"When I was very little, maybe 3, I saw Lisa Turtle (aka Lark Voorhies) on Saved by the Bell in her full teen, dark-skinned, fashion-slaying, never-settle-for-a-Screech, beautiful glory, and I knew I had someone to emulate. I wore a fashionworthy hat every day in kindergarten."


17. Chidi Anagonye from The Good Place

NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

"He’s an anxious, indecisive, African academic, and that alone made me feel seen. Also, his character development over the series really resonated with me. He went from being too caught up in the thought process of making a decision to truly making one that he was fine with — and to being confident in his ability to address huge questions about the afterlife. And seeing a Black person onscreen with such complexity was refreshing."


18. Sam from Dear White People

Adam Rose / Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

"She’s an unapologetic Black woman who comes from a biracial family. There is a scene in the first season where she is walking through campus listening to some Lana Del Rey-type music, but then as soon as someone walks past her she switches to rap. That was the first time I ever saw code switching so blatantly on TV, and honestly, I didn’t even know that it was a common thing. It hit me so hard knowing that I do the exact same thing."


19. Clair Huxtable from The Cosby Show

NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

"Clair Huxtable = Mom goals. As a mom now myself, it’s hard not to love her. She’s strong AF, a total powerhouse, extraordinarily eloquent, and an amazing leader. She’s a respected career woman, while balancing motherhood perfectly. What a damn queen."


20. Randall Pearson from This Is Us

Ron Batzdorff / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

"I grew up mixed in a very white suburb, and I was always one of the only Black people wherever I went. I then went to a PWI for college. Seeing his struggle to be Black while being surrounded by white people and finding his identity within that juxtaposition of culture made me feel unbelievably seen."


21. Issa Dee from Insecure


"I really feel like her character was a love letter to all the awkward Black girls out there. She was goofy and a tad bit insecure (duh), and she didn’t always know who she was or what she wanted to do — and that really resonated with me. I’m glad I got to watch this show in my 20s because I really felt seen. The writers of Insecure did an incredible job writing multidimensional Black characters. Even the characters you didn’t really like you could relate to on some level. Man, I’m gonna miss it."


22. Olivia Pope from Scandal

Mitch Haaseth / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

"She was powerful, a badass, and was never afraid to ask for what she wanted. She fought for her team and always put others above herself. Olivia was the kind of Black woman who was needed to show that we can be strong and smart, rather than the stereotypes that we are expected to be."


23. Darius Epps from Atlanta

Curtis Bonds Baker / FX Networks / Courtesy Everett Collection

"Every main character on Atlanta, but particularly Darius. He's at peace with the world 24/7. I can only aspire to be like him one day. (Plus, he's the funniest character I've seen on TV in a while, period.)"


24. Zoey from Grown-ish and Black-ish

Ron Tom / ABC Family / Courtesy Everett Collection

"She wasn’t portrayed as just a terrible teenager, and all of her problems are so realistic and relatable."


25. Barney Collier from Mission: Impossible

Courtesy Everett Collection

26. Joan from Girlfriends

Paramount Television / Courtesy Everett Collection

"She was successful, single, and was such a supportive and good friend."


27. And finally: Susie Carmichael from Rugrats


"Susie was so dope: She was the beacon of hope and wisdom when Angelica was a monster. She was always herself, her authenticity was magnetic, and her braids looked like mine, which mattered as a kid. Still does."


Which characters would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Make sure you head here for more of our Black History Month coverage!

Kathy Hoang

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