Wednesday, July 04, 2007

BernNadette Stanis

Another installment in my ongoing series of articles on transgender and non-transgender women who have qualities that I admire.

Back in 1974 a spin off show from Maude debuted on CBS called Good Times. The iconic show chronicled the trials, travails and sometimes comic pitfalls of the Evans family, who were trying to earn their piece of the American Dream while dealing with the reality of living in the Cabrini-Green projects of Chicago.

This was the first television show show to focus on an African-American lower income family. One of the things that made it entertaining to watch for many teenaged boys of my generation besides Jimmie Walker was BernNadette Stanis, who played Thelma Evans.

She was the Brooklyn born sistah that African-American boys of my generation drooled over. In my case I wanted to BE her, but that's a story for another time. ;)

We got to see for the first time on American television a young, smart, proud, strong-willed, beautiful and sexy sister who had dreams bigger than the environment she lived in. She was a good girl, which only enhanced the enjoyment that the fellas got when they saw her in her tastefully sexy clothes she got to wear as Thelma or showed off her graceful dance moves honed as a Julliard graduate.

The former Miss Black New York was our first sex symbol. She showed mainstream America that the stereotypes of folks that lived in the ghetto were wrong. There were beautiful peeps there in body, mind and spirit who had hopes, dreams, aspirations, integrity and class. We had the pleasure of seeing her on the small screen for seven seasons until Good Times went off the air in 1979.

BernNadette has done guest spots on various TV shows, most recently on Girlfriends in an episode when she played Maya's cousin. She was set up on a date with William, who blathered on and on in her presence about his teenage crush on Thelma.

She eventually got married and became the mother of two daughters. She is a writer and producer, and has acted in some stage plays, most notably one called Whatever Happened to Black Love that she also produced with her husband Kevin Fontana. She also had a role in He Say...She Say But What Does God Say? She's written a book on relationships called Situations 101 that she is currently promoting.

And yes fellas, BernNadette's still as beautiful, smart and sexy as she was in 1974.


Alexis said...

Oh yes, Ms. Stanis was a hero to many of us. Thanks so much for the update on her!

Sharon said...

I was surfing to see what Bernadette is up to these days. Sounds like she is doing well and glad to hear that.
In the 70's I was a teenager. I am white, grew up in a poor neighborhood . "Thelma" was a roll model for me because I was a "good girl" with lots of pressure from my peers to be a "bad girl" I saw how highly thought of the character of Thelms was and it gave me strength. Too bad I don't see such roll models on television shows today.