In the beginning, “Good Times” actor John Amos enjoyed bringing the Evans family patriarch, James, to life on television.
But when the show’s creators turned Black families into a joke, he flipped out. And when he refused to coon, producers retaliated.
White writers of the show kept a constant emphasis on J.J.’s stereotypical portrayal of a young Black man, but Amos took a stand.
He wanted more emphasis on the true nature of the Black family. But when he refused to play along with the script’s shuckin’ and jivin’, he received the shock of his life.
Show producers, including creator Norman Lear, weren’t happy with Amos’ defiance, and FIRED him from the cast!
His character was killed off the show in a rushed, hurtful plotline that left both cast members and viewers stunned.
Amos got the last laugh, though. The Black community continues to admire the dignity he proudly displayed by walking away from a project only invested in embarrassing caricatures of Black people.
Amos refused to allow white writers to portray Black families as one-dimensional clowns, and it cost him his job. We must always remember that we’re the ones who should control our narratives, not those outside our community.