i love james evans, sr. been loving him for years. one of the realest black men on t.v. of all time. now there are some good images of black men in the media, to be sure. but when you talk about who's my favorite, it's james evans, hands down, no hesitation. james was a proud man. he worked when given the chance. he loved the mess out of his wife, and communicated that to her regularly and lovingly without embarrassment or prodding.
he lovingly fathered his children. found a way to balance lightheartedness with the hard stuff. respected the Lord but recognized that God put james' destiny into james' hands - and that james was no slouch. he believed in old school discipline and made sure his children knew it. he believed in busting somebody's behind if need be if they messed with his family - america wasn't ready for james, so the show balanced out his strength with a comedic temper. but even in his temper tirades, john amos made sure that after he furrowed his brow and shouted and threw around an insult or a curse or two, he would be quick to put love in back his eyes so that although you knew that james wasn't playing, you also knew that was he not the simple minded angry black man harboring an inability to reason and love that some people to this day still believe black men characteristically ail from. i thank john amos for challenging the age old american tradition of perpetuating the distortion of the strength of black men. in addition, james encouraged the talents in his children - he was proud of his son's art, his other son's brainpower, and his daughter's sweet spirit. james' relationship with thelma and florida was so beautiful. there was always a gentle word for them. always a generous hug. always a soft spot - not that he was dominated by the whims of a spoiled daughter or always bested by intellectual or emotional superiority by his wife - not in the least. the household was his - and yet florida never had to shuffle and drag her feet because of something her husband forced on her. florida and james shared a mutual love and respect and a balance of household leadership not seen since john amos left good times. florida never stayed up all night wondering where he was or where he spent his check. james never brought home a bunch of disrespectful foolish friends to intrude on the sanctity of their place. he was a man not unlike my dad - the unsung hero, the one the statistics miss, the black man with a character that one could take seriously. the black man with a character that one could love. i could point out where other black husbands and dads on t.v. fall short of james' mark, but far be it from me to make it seem like i'm not glad those images existed too. it takes all kinds. but let it suffice to say that i just love me some james, was glad that good times had a james, and am glad that in reruns, we will always have a james.