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The Jeffersons, The Obamas and 23 Other Black Couples That Changed America

A few weeks back when Sherman Hemsely died, I couldn’t help but think of how much The Jeffersons had changed America.  Then it struck me that George & Weezy weren’t the only Black couple that had made an impact on our culture.  I started to write a list of Black couples that I thought had a profound impact on American culture, and I could barely write fast enough.  Some of the couples were fiction and others were very real, but they all changed the trajectory of life as we know it. So I compiled a list of the  25 most impactful Black couples (in my humble opinion).  Here is my list in no particular order.  Who would you add to the list?

1. Ruby Dee & Ossie Davis

(The Icons)

Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis were trailblazers on many fronts including Civil Rights. They are mostly known for their iconic careers and their never ending love story. This couple made an impact generation after generation and continue to be a shining example of Life & Love.

 2. Will & Jada Smith

(The Actors)

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have defied the odds. Two Hollywood hotties in a long lasting marriage with kids. In addition to being highly sought after talents themselves, they have raised a couple of super stars in Jayden and Willow (who also act)… must be in the DNA!

3. George & Louise Jefferson

(The Movers & Shakers)

George Jefferson was the first Black entrepreneur that most of us had seen.  A Brotha that made it to the big leagues under his own steam.  And who can forget that Weezy is the one that kept the family grounded.  She managed her household and community duties with grace and style with her busy body mother-in-law in tow.

4. James and Florida Evans

(The Survivors)

Living hard is not new to Black people, but nobody made it look as sexy and fun as James & Florida Evans.  James remained the head of the household even when he couldn’t find a job and Florida kept to her role too while allowing her man to keep his dignity. This duo was just DYNO-MITE!!!

5. Bill & Camille Cosby

(The Veterans)

Who would have thought it possible for a CLEAN Black comedian to make millions and create works that changed the world? Bill Cosby created The Cosby Kids, The Cosby Show, Little Bill…and that is the SHORT list. Meanwhile Camille raised their family and supported all his endeavors.  When their son was killed, Camille’s elegance in the depth of despair was a marvel.

6. Claire & Cliff Huxtables

(The Too Perfects)

Wait, What??!! A doctor hubby and lawyer wifey with 5 kids? No such thing could possibly exist, right? Back in the day many folks seemed to think it couldn’t. No matter, we all piled in front of the TV to see the family antics.  It was the first show that publicly hailed HCBUs as historic and credible institutions.  No doubt many folks attended Spellman or Morehouse due to the ‘Different World’ inspirations spawned from The Cosby Show.

 

7. Barack & Michelle Obama

(The Inspirations)

I’m not sure that I even need to write anything here, but here goes.  Their public displays of affection make us swoon. We just want to be LIKE them or WITH someone like them. Together they disprove nearly EVERY sterotype assigned to Black couples. But we mostly admire their humble roots and humble beliefs. The POTUS and FLOTUS extraordinaire.

8. Cicely Tyson and Miles Davis

(The Legends)

A legendary actress and a legendary musician created a legendary love. Not for the reasons we might have thought, the reported emotional and physical abuse suffered by Tyson at the hands of Davis is believed to be a big reason why his legend has not shined more brightly.

9. Chris Brown & Rhianna

(The WTFs)

Tina & Ike were one thing, but we had to watch the movie to know that story, CB and Rhi Rhi’s nightmare played out right in front of our faces. And even years later it seems the brawling superstars can’t stay clear of each other.  Its some Fatal Attraction kind of ish…and America is confused about whether or not to root for them. Yup, WTF for sure!

 

10. Jay Z and Beyonce’

(The Moguls)

The baddest rapper in the game married the baddest chick in the game (according to Hova), but their is no disputing that this Mogul and Mogulista are a Super Power Couple. They prove that beauty and brawn seem to find each other even at the highest levels of success.

11. Ike & Tina Turner

(The Good Gone Bads)

Anna Mae is of course the ULTIMATE survivor of domestic abuse. And boy did she re-invent herself and shine is a major way. But before she was a Private Dancer, The Ike & Tina Revue changed the world of soul and rock forever. Their cross over appeal was legendary, and later so was their private life.  What’s Love Got Do Do With It?… ask Chris and Rhianna about that one.

12. Bill & Hillary Clinton

(The Shoulda Been Blacks)

You know they had to be up in here, Bill plays the sax and Hillary got mad attitude.  They care about the same politics that we do, but somebody at the people making factory dipped them in vanilla stead of chocolate.  Now put that in your cigar and smoke it (unless your last name is Lewinsky)

13. Bishop TD Jakes & Serita Jakes

(The Preacher & First Lady)

The fact that The Potter’s House is only ONE thing that this churchin’ pair manages should be impressive enough. But these folks have jumped head first into the entertainment industry, making spiritually focused films and books. Be ye not afraid to praise Him, even in Hollywood.

 

14. Winnie & Nelson Mandela

(The Revolutionaries)

She waited 27 years for him to be released from prison and sadly their marriage ended once he was free. But together they both still support a nation struggling for justice and equality for all its people. Though not always happy with each other, they continue to work collectively for the greater good.

15. Jermain Dupree & Janet Jackson

(The Misfits)

I believe EVERYONE was shocked when this couple got together. She was the Queen of Sultry Seduction and based on her track record, she always got the hottest dudes! Who knew JD had game like that?  I mean he went from Da Brat to Janet, talking about an upgrade? Even more amazing is how long the relationship lasted AND how quiet they were about the details of the breakup. We really liked Janet and JD together… *sigh*

16. Evelyn Lozado & Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson

(The Media Whores)

This train wreck is still not over and and already the love affair is epic.  We were excited because these two media whores had found someone they loved more than themselves or the cameras. Hmmm, not so fast, turns out not to be true at all.  But I don’t think ANYONE would have predicted Domestic Violence as the catalyst for the demise of their union.  Shows what we all know huh?

17. Babyface & Tracy Edmonds

(The Producers)

The SOUL FOOD franchise became an iconic part of Black Pop Culture due to the skillz of this Power Couple.  Kenneth proved that his creativity could be channeled in other directions while Tracy manned the reigns without fail.  Did I mention they were HOT!! We were rooting for them for all the right reasons, turns out the Whip Appeal wasn’t quite enough.

18. Oprah Winfrey & Stedman Graham

(The Game Changers)

Wait, SHE is the billionare??!! Oprah and Stedman redefined financial roles in a relationship for us.  Many folks expected this couple not to last because of her success. But Steady Stedman has proven that he doesn’t need to be in the spotlight to be ‘THE MAN’.  He is the stabilizer and emotional support that Oprah needs to change to world, and he is making some changes of his own too.  Stedman is no mooch or slacker, he’s pretty doggone successful too.

19. Alicia Keys & Swizz Beats

(Two Time Charmers)

Although its pretty clear that Alicia was ‘the other woman’ for Swizz Beats, folks don’t seem to care all that much. America’s Black Sweetheart never missed a beat with her music, marriage or motherhood. Maybe Swizz was in a no-win marriage before, so here’s to hoping the second time is the charm for the dashing duo.

20. Whitney Houston & Bobbie Brown

(The ‘Addicted To’ Lovers)

Ok, so we were all shocked when Bobby landed Whitney. Mostly we were shocked at how head over heels she seemed with the bad boy from Boston.  But that was before we found out how rough and tumble sister girl was!  I don’t think ANYONE expected them to EVER break up…the only thing more shocking was untimely death of the Princess of Pop.

21. Martin Luther & Coretta Scott King

(The Freedom Fighters)

I wonder if Martin’s dream was revealed how devoted his wife would remain to his legacy long after his death.  The unwavering matriarch dedicated her life to preserving her husbands image and ensuring he was never forgotten.  I often wonder if she might have been more dedicated to his legacy than the civil rights movement itself.  I also wonder what would drive a woman to dedicate her life to paying homage to a deceased husband. Honorable or sacrificial (or both).

22. Rick Fox & Vanessa Williams

(The McSteamy’s)

Yall KNOW we like to see pretty people together, if for no other reason that to see pretty babies.  I personally am always happy when a Black couple appears to have it all.  Looks, love, fame, career, money, talent, family…wait, I’m running out of things to give them. At any rate, we were really sad when they ran out of steam.

23. Rodney & Holly Robinson Pete

(The Couple Next Door)

Awww, who doesn’t love these guys.  We admire their commitment to each other and their family, but the courage they had to become the Black Voices of Autism was staggering.  Their work has empowered countless families to seek support and embrace the cards life deals them.

24. Mike Tyson & Robin Givens

(The Gold Diggers)

He had golden gloves and gold teeth and was just a plain gold digger. These two could not have been further apart, I think the only thing that SHOCKED us when was the fact that he DIDN’T knock her ass out in that Oprah interview when she put him on blast in public. Admit it, he is not known for restraint…I was scared for her that day!

25. Quincy McCall & Monica Wright

(Love & Basketball)

The tom-boy gets the guy instead of Tyra Banks!! What a hell of a plot! Finally female ballers got some love in this film and Sanaa Latham became endeared to our hearts forever. This CLASSIC BLACK movie also set the standard for love stories that weren’t about abuse and buffoonery!  It’s probably playing on BET tonight…

(BTW: Did yall realize Quincy’s dad is the Allstate guy??)

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Jentry Peach

Jentry Peach

The 'southern belle' that sets off all the alarms!! A straight talking Georgia Peach thats known for shedding light on the #dirtyTRUTH