Actor Declares War On Hollywood For False Portrayals

Esther Rolle and John Amos from Good Times TV Show
Brooke Brown
January 30, 2020

Good Times 

For 61 episodes, John Amos played the patriarch James Evans on the television sitcom Good Times. 

But right after being fired because of his principles, he won the role of a lifetime ...


Interestingly, President Ronald Regan called the series “biased” and “destructive,” but Amos used his role as adult Kunta Kinte/Toby in the 1977 mini television series Roots to showcase the horrifying realities of American slavery with reverence, dignity, and unflinching honesty.

The West Wing 

The character Percy Fitzwallace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was Amos’ turn to show Black men in charge for a change, proving to writers and casting agents that we could be more than clowns or criminals.

Coming to America

Of course, we can’t forget his iconic turn as Cleo, the overprotective father of Lisa McDowell in Eddie Murphy’s cult classic Coming to America (which has a sequel on the way)!

As the middle class owner of McDowell’s fast food restaurant, he hilariously brought Black entrepreneurship to the big screen.

Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air 

And who could forget his guest role as Beulah Lisa Wilkes’ (Nia Long) father, Frank?

We’re thankful for Amos’ enduring convictions to advocate for balanced, nuanced portrayals of Black history and humanity - at home, in the workplace, and even in imaginary worlds.

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