On this day in comedy in 2000, “Girlfriends” premiered on UPN.
Executive Producer, Kelsey Grammer presented one of the highest rated sitcoms among African-Americans. “Girlfriends” starred Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks, Persia White and Jill Marie Jones. The relationships of this quartet was in constant flux throughout the series run.
Ross played Joan; a character who had problems with life’s relationships and ended her friendship with Jill Marie Jones character, Toni after she failed to appear at Toni’s custody battle hearing. Maya (Golden Brooks) is straight out of Compton. She was a married mother and extremely religious. She was also an author and the girlfriend who criticizes Joan for being so ego-driven. Lynn (Persia White) is the bohemian of the group. She’s more sexually liberated and was known to have orgies, one-night stands and short-term boyfriends. Toni, on the other hand, considered herself the cute one of the group and initially looked down on Maya, but eventually accepted her friendship. Toni married a white man for a year and had a child by him then moved to New York so their daughter could see her father.
The show also had a male anchor, William, (Reggie Hayes). He was so jealous of Joan at one point that he got married to someone he didn’t love just to beat Joan to the alter. He comes to his senses and gets a divorce and realizes that he loves Joan. They kindle a short-term relationship, but William has his hands full. He becomes a sperm donor for his biological sister and her same-sex partner and when the child is born William considers him his nephew/son.
“Girlfriends” featured a wide array of guest stars, many from the world of music. Donnie McClurkin, Angie Stone, Chante Moore, Common, Erykah Badu, Isaac Hayes, Jill Scott, Kelly Rowland and Master P were featured. Prominent comedians such as Monique, Joe Torry, Sandra Bernhard and Katt Williams also made appearances.
The sitcom garnered NAACP Acting Awards for cast members, Tracee Ellis Ross and Reggie Hayes over the course of its run and an award for Best Writing for a Comedy Series. After a move to the CW the show aired its final episode on February 11, 2008.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton