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.