Skip to content

The Top 10 African-American and Latino Mothers on Film and Television

Over the years, African-American and Latina women have played a number of powerful, hilarious and flat our memorable roles as mothers on television and in film. Here’s a list of some of the best in recent memory. This is in NO way in any type of order.

Eva Longoria in Desperate Housewives 10) Eva Longoria in Desperate Housewives
Yes, Desperate Housewives made a list, not because of the show’s quality but because of Eva Longoria’s strong female performance of a once overly materialistic mother who loves her two children inexplicable.
La La Anthony 9) La La Anthony in La La’s Full Court Life
La La plays a positive female role model in her own show on VH1 as viewers are privileged to see just how important her son is to her life despite her overly busy life.
Taraji P Henson 8) Taraji P. Henson in Empire
Taraji has been quite in a few movies and shows recently, but her turn in the new show Empire playing opposite Terrence Howard is some of her finest work. She goes to great lengths to ensure that her family stays together.
Janet Hubert-Whitten _ Daphne Maxwell Reid 7) Janet Hubert Whitten & Daphne Maxwell Reid (Vivian Banks) in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Who doesn’t miss this show? Aside from Will Smith’s memorable moments, watching Vivian Banks willingly take over the responsibilities of mothering the family were touching and oftentimes humorous.
Sofia Vergara 6) Sofia Vergara in Modern Family
Love or hate her, her starring role in ABC’s Modern Family has won over many fans for her portrayal of a mom who truly loves her son in every possible way.
Phylicia Rashad 5) Phylicia Rashad (Claire Huxtable) in the Cosby Show
Claire brought life into the role of what it was like to be a mother in America during the 1980s. Her performance on the Cosby Show illustrated the difficulties mothers face balancing a career with a family that they love so dearly. Her ability to go from loving mother to a stern, powerful force of nature in the blink of an eye was something special to behold.
Danai Gurira 4) Danai Gurira in The Walking Dead
While technically not a mother anymore, it was revealed that she did have kids that she lost during the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. What she lost turned her into a determined monster of sorts. She plays an incredibly strong and complex woman in this show and is one of the most powerful female characters on TV today.
Penelope Cruz 3) Penelope Cruz in Volver
The 2006 film Volver from director Pedro Almodóvar stars Penelope Cruz as a mother who returns to her home after her death to fix all the problems that she couldn’t take care of when she was alive. This is definitely one of the most interesting takes on a mother in film.
Morena Baccarin 2) Morena Baccarin in Homeland
Despite her notable absence from the past season, her tormented character plays the fine line of mother and wife dealing with a husband coming home under extremely unusual circumstances. Her role on Homeland often led to some scene stealing moments.
Gabourey Sidibe 1) Gabourey Sidibe in Precious
Gabourey Sidibe came out of nowhere in 2009 for her starring and Oscar nominated role in the heavy film Precious. Playing a 16 year old mother who gets impregnated for a second time and has basically the entire world against her, we get to see her transform from an oppressed individual and grow into a stronger human being.