Pam from ‘Martin’ Taught Me That Black Women Can Own Their Anger

As a kid—I couldn’t have been more than nine—I remember watching one particular scene from the classic ‘90s sitcom, Martin. (In case you don’t remember, Martin followed the antics of a Detroit radio host, his girlfriend Gina Waters, and their tight-knit group of friends.) It was the episode where Gina loses Martin’s tickets to the Pistons game, which puts both her and her friend Pam in the awkward position of needing help from Martin’s feisty neighbor, Sheneneh. Standing mere feet from her own apartment, Sheneneh makes a proposition: If Pam sings "Old MacDonald," then they can get new tickets to the game.

I remember feeling pity for Gina as she emerged from the trash with tattered clothes and begged Pam to cooperate. I remember chuckling as Sheneneh rolled her neck and toyed with Pam’s patience. But most of all, I remember being in complete awe of Tichina Arnold’s Pamela James—also known as the clapback queen or, better yet, the baddest baddie.