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Photo: Courtesy of Nickelodeon
New Black Comedy Comes to Nickelodeon
Sunday the 30th Nickelodeon premiered its new live-action family sitcom “Instant Mom.” The show features an all African American cast headed up by Tia Mowry-Hardrict (Sister,Sister).
“Instant Mom” follows the ups-and-downs of motherhood through the experiences of Stephanie Philips (Hardrict), a party girl turned instant mother after she meets and marries Charlie (Michael Boatman) an older man with three children played by Sydney Park, Tylen Williams and Damarr Calhoun. Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha) rounds out the cast playing Maggie, Stephanie’s unsolicited-advice giving mother. Hardrict and Ralph have a dynamic chemistry on camera that Hardrict tells the Sentinel, came naturally, “She reminds me of my mom in little bits in pieces. I’m like ‘Oh I remember when that happened!’” She laughs.
Nickelodeon, a network no stranger to diversity, has featured several shows with all African American casts or leading Black cast members over the past two decades. In 1994, the network produced “My Brother and Me,” a show about the highs and lows of family life through the eyes of a Black family living in North Carolina. From there, Nickelodeon went on to create “Kenan and Kel” (1996-2000), “Cousin Skeeter” (1998-2001), Romeo! (2003-2006) and True Jackson VP (2008-2011) among others.
In an industry dominated by White culture, Nickelodeon has proven itself a leader in diversity both in front of and behind the camera. Working with, and responding to organizations like the National Association of Minorities in Communications (NAMIC), the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), and the NAACP, Nickelodeon has created shows not just starring actors of all racial backgrounds but also shows written and produced by talent of all makeups. Hardrict is evidence of this, a producer as well as the star of “Instant Mom.”
The actress, who was as much apart of the 90’s boom in African American programming (with her work on “Sister, Sister” and other shows) as she was an enjoyer of it, remembers those days fondly.
“I remember when I was a child, coming home from school, my mom coming home from work and all of us getting in front of the television as a family and watching shows. Whether it was Martin, The Cosby Show, or Living Single…We would all talk about it the next day at school. These were shows the whole family can enjoy. What’s so great about Nick at Nite is they’re bringing original programming back, creating shows everybody can enjoy.”
“Instant Mom” airs Sundays in two slots for the network. First at 8:30p.m. (ET/PT) it runs on Nick at Nite, and later at 10pm it airs on the Nick Jr. channel as part of the adult-targeted comedy block NickMom.