Black sitcoms hold a special place in the hearts of fans everywhere. These beloved shows unapologetically represented and showcased the nuances of Blackness, bringing laughter and tears along the way. Many viewers felt seen for the first time watching characters that looked like them sharing their stories. The relatability of shows like “Family Matters” or “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was almost like a precious gift, so much so that they defined eras.
Since sitcoms are such an important part of the culture, it’s reasonable to wonder where the actors who starred in them are today, especially now that streaming makes rewatching fan favorites so accessible. Although many of the adult characters that fans have come to love have passed on, the childhood actors continued their careers or forged new paths. With that said, here’s an update on some of the most iconic kid characters.
1. Raven-Symoné: Olivia Kendall from The Cosby Show
Raven-Symoné played the adorable Olivia Kendall on “The Cosby Show,” and she also starred in the Disney sitcom, “That’s So Raven,” playing a fictionalized version of herself who had psychic visions. The actress revealed on an episode of her wife Miranda Maday’s podcast, “The Best Podcast Ever,” that she feels connected to the psychic plane, much like her character.
Since her childhood debut, the actress has graduated from art school, walked the runway, starred on Broadway, co-hosted “The View,” and competed on “The Masked Singer.” She also continues to act, starring in Disney’s “That’s So Raven” reboot “Raven’s Home,” since 2017.
2. Kyla Pratt: Breanna Barnes from One on One
From Penny Proud to Breanna Barnes to Maya Dolittle, Kyla Pratt has displayed her versatility from a young age. She’s gone on to welcome two daughters, Lyric and Liyah, with her longtime partner, Danny Kirkpatrick. The two began dating in 2005 and became engaged in 2011. Balancing motherhood and her career, Pratt continues to pursue her passions, starring in shows such as “Call Me Kat,” “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder,” and Issa Rae’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” to name a few.
3. Tia and Tamera Mowry: Tia and Tamera from Sister, Sister
Identical twins Tia Mowry and Tamera Mowry-Housley played reunited sisters in the iconic sitcom, “Sister, Sister.” But since the show’s 1999 series finale, the pair have maintained separate careers, aside from their reality series, “Tia & Tamera,” which aired from 2011 to 2013. Both have gotten married and had children.
Tamera wed her husband, Adam Housley, in 2011. The couple share a son, Aden, and a daughter, Ariah. Now an Emmy Award-winning co-host of “The Real,” Mowry-Housley’s professional life looks a little different from childhood, as does her sister’s.
Tia recently announced her divorce from her now estranged husband, Cory Hardrict, with whom she shares a son, Cree, and a daughter, Cairo. While Tia still acts, she spends most of her time helping fans solve life’s little dilemmas on her YouTube series, “Tia Mowry’s Quick Fix” and grow healthy curls with her science-backed haircare line, “4U by Tia Mowry.”
4. Keshia Knight Pulliam: Rudy Huxtable from The Cosby Show
Keshia Knight-Pulliam is known for starring as the beloved Rudy Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.” Between motherhood to her daughter, Ella Grace, and recently, to her son, Knight James, the actress-turned-director-and-entrepreneur continues following her dreams. After a divorce from ex-husband Ed Hartwell, she married Brad James in 2021, whom she met on the set of “Pride and Prejudice: Atlanta.” In addition to entertainment pursuits, she’s entered the culinary world, selling spices under her “Keshia’s Kitchen Collection.”
5. Tahj Mowry: T.J. Henderson from Smart Guy
Actor Tahj Mowry followed in his sisters’ footsteps, starring in sitcoms like “Smart Guy” and “Full House” in the 1990s. The actor has continued to make a name for himself by earning roles in series like ABC’s “Baby Daddy.” He was even featured alongside his sister Tia in The CW’s “The Game.”
6. Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell: Kenan and Kel
Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell were some of Nickelodeon’s biggest stars. From “All That” to their hit show “Kenan and Kel,” both actors continued to take their careers as comedians to the next level. They are now working on the sequel to the classic movie Good Burger. Outside of their joint work, Mitchell is a co-host on “Dancing with the Stars” and Thompson is the longest-tenured cast member in “Saturday Night Live” history. Both of the stars are now married with children.
7. Tyler James Williams: Chris from Everybody Hates Chris
Tyler James Williams led the sitcom, “Everybody Hates Chris,” starring as the young Chris Rock. Then, he took on a lead role in Quinta Brunson’s Emmy-winning series, “Abbott Elementary,” in 2021 by playing first grade teacher Gregory Eddie. Williams also spits a few bars from time to time, most notably his “Sway in the Morning” freestyle that turned heads on social media, went viral and amassing hundreds of thousands of views.
8. Jaleel White: Steve Ukrel from Family Matters
After playing the nerdy yet charming Steve Urkel on “Family Matters,” Jaleel White earned a degree from UCLA in 2001. Upon his return to acting, he starred in a few supporting and cameo roles. He also acquired some producer and writer credits beginning in the late 1990s. Beyond his TV and film accomplishments, White appeared on season 14 of “Dancing with the Stars.”
9. Tatyana Ali: Ashley Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Tatyana Ali played the more down-to-earth daughter of the Banks clan on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Though she’s made a few guest appearances since, the actress has focused her efforts on activism. She began advocating for Black maternal health after experiencing a traumatic birth with her first son, Edward Aszard, whom she shares with her husband, Dr. Vaughn Rasberry. The two also share another son, Alejandro. Ali’s activism had led her all the way to the White House, where she posed for a picture with Vice President Kamala Harris in July 2023.