Common, Touré On Good Times, The Jeffersons Impact
The theme song had us hooked.
Well we’re movin on up/To the east side/To a deluxe apartment in the sky/Movin on up/To the east side
We finally got a piece of the pie
Fish don’t fry in the kitchen; Beans don’t burn on the grill/Took a whole lotta tryin’/Just to get up that hill/
Now we’re up in the big leagues/Gettin’ our turn at bat/As long as we live, it’s you and me baby/
There ain’t nothin wrong with that
The Jeffersons immediately sparked aspiration and hope that a life of stable living, ownership, fine dining and fine fashion was attainable in the Black household.
George and Weezy came into our homes and provided comedic relief with witty and sometimes combative commentary. A spin-off from All in the Family, where Archie Bunker spewed his bigoted perspectives on society, The Jeffersons broke barriers not only by showing an affluent African American family with a Black maid (the no non-sense taking Florence), but also preparing the world for interracial dating on a mainstream platform.
Then we had Good Times which featured an African-American, working-class family. The show explored the family’s financial troubles as they struggled to get by in a Chicago housing project. Through hardships, the Evans’ family proved that love, laughter and a strong foundation could indeed help weather the storm.
Both shows, created by Norman Lear, gave us an outlet for laughter, but most importantly to also recognize the importance of family and working your way through any situation. The Evans’ didn’t have much and it was a daily struggle maintaining a household with three children and barely getting by financially but they held on to their humor and pockets of happiness. The Jeffersons’ taught us ownership and flipped the script on doors being slammed in our face (recall George constantly slamming the door in the face of a White man, and then cooly walking off with his signature flare).
The sitcoms were staples in the Black community. Now, rapper/actor Common, DJ D-Nice, Steve Stoute (The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy), and journalist/author Toure’ will share the influence both programs had on their upbringing and life perspectives in American Masters – Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You.
The televised docu-film combines stories from the content creator’s turbulent childhood and early career with his groundbreaking TV success (All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude) and social activism.
Watch the exclusive clip below where Touré, Common, Steve Stoute and D-Nice recall pivotal moments from The Jeffersons and Good Times.
American Masters — Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You airs on PBS, Oct. 25 at 9pm. The docu-film featuring Touré, Common, Steve Stoute and D-Nice will also be available via Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD.
*Insider extra: Enjoy a virtual Happy Hour with the showrunner, today. Follow this link for more information.