By: Kacee Marie
Girlfriends, the funny, iconic sitcom created by Mara Brock Akil, made its way to Netflix last month, and I know others, much like myself have been binge watching like crazy. Blending a harmony of different personalities, styles and professions, Girlfriends was every woman's favorite show. I can admit, the show definitely hits different now versus when we were watching it with our Mommas and Aunties, but nonetheless, it has always been a popping show for 20 years. Joan, Toni, Maya and Lynn shared a unique sisterly bond, who shared stories of love, betrayal, finances and just overall how they navigated life the best they could. After watching again in your adult life, which Girlfriend do you think you really are? Lets break down each women and you see for yourself!
JOAN: “The Corky Working Professional” | Mother Role and The Friend who’s Always the Host
Joan was the corky but opinionated friend while battling her love life. Joan’s date stories were ridiculously funny, sometimes painful to watch and exciting when she found serious partners. Joan was very much like, “I’m responsible. I’m self-sufficient. I am kind of like the core and the center.” Very unyielding and very self-assured. She was the den mother of the friend group, the one who everyone turns for advice (even if its a tad bit judgmental) and was the first person the others went for for a shoulder to cry on, and sometimes for some financial help. She was patient and was always the hostess with the mostess. She always made time for her girls even as a lawyer. Also, its worth mentioning that Joan’s different hairstyles influenced the rise of naturalistas becoming proud of their curls! Who agrees? Tracee Ellis Ross is a fashion and hair inspiration until this day.
Toni: “The Entrepreneur” | The Bad and Boujee Friend
Toni was the HOT one of the crew! We all have that one friend who loves designer bags and the shoes to match. The friend who is known to be boujee and selfish, but can’t help but to love her as a sister. As Joan’s bestfriend, Toni’s relationship with her wasn’t always pretty. Their friendship was interesting to watch, as they were the complete opposite. Whether you identify yourself more with the other girls, Toni was more relatable than you think. Let’s face it, we all our selfish in our own ways while finding ourselves. For six seasons straight, Toni goes after the specific type of man she wanted: rich, handsome, and rich. She was always ready to rally the crew to go out for a girls night. Toni Childs was the one with the stuck up attitude but never beat around the brush.
Maya : “The Around The Way Girl with Drive” | The Blunt and Real Friend
Whether you are afraid to admit it, every black girl has this side in her. Golden Brooks played this role perfectly, and Maya was not ashamed of whom she was. Maya was also a hustler and I liked her trajectory, too, throughout the entire series actually, where she was the assistant, but she always knew that she could be more and do more. And she had a voice and she believed in it. She was the bright, funny friend from Compton who started as Joan’s assistant at the law firm. Not many can say they built a genuine friendship with their boss. Maya always made us laugh, whether that was being blunt about the other girls situations or saying her signature line “Oh HELLL No.” She was the funniest out the group, she was always prepared with a comeback for anyone, and ready to throw hands for her respect and her friends. She's always a good time, even being the only mother of the group (until later in the seasons- SPOILER ALERT 😏) and she knew how to turn the most boring events into a party.
Lynn: “The Artsy, Sexually Liberated, Carefree Girl” | The Multi-Degree Friend
Lynn was the free spirt of the bunch. Her head was in the clouds during most seasons, as she was lost and just trying to figure out herself and her purpose in life. Lynn was that character who stood in her truth, and was like “I love free love. She just didn’t care what anyone had to say or society’s standards that are placed on Black women. Lynn gave the girls the best tips during their sensual and enticing dating stories and usually remained the neutral, non problematic one when things hit the fan; she was just always broke ! She held many degrees in different fields, but somehow found a passion in creating film and music. Her character will always be remembered and cherished as the artsy-carefree girl. Although she was the friend that was always bouncing from house to house and didn't have a stable job until later in the series, she was always loved by the other Girlfriends and they knew when Lynn was involved, an adventure or a crazy situation was about to go down. Believe it or not, you may have a lot in common with the most underestimated character, Lynn.
No matter what character you connect with the most, its no telling that we have a little of each Girlfriend in us all. Having those images of Black women so early on was super beneficial because we all know, you walk out into the world and it’s a bunch of people telling Black girls, “You can’t do this. You can’t be this. You can’t say that.” So seeing four black women on television doing just that and getting what they wanted; the show couldn't have dropped at a more necessary time, with black women become more of a voice and are in the forefront like never before. There are some things that are super tone deaf and don’t age well culturally. But I also like to think of TV shows as snapshots of particular cultural phenomenons within society. The whole point of television shows is to have characters go through moments that everyday people go through and make decisions, and be like, well, what would you do in this situation? You don’t want all the characters to do the same thing. You want that conflict, you want that drama, and you want to show how different people react to things, because that’s how people grow in regular life and real life. And that’s how people grow on television shows. That's what made Girlfriends so relatable to someone in their 20s, but the show’s most important lessons are: that we shouldn’t be ashamed of our convictions, that we’re worthy of redemption from our mistakes, and that there’s still space to be soft, even as we love hard and protect the beauty we’ve created and call our own.