On Screen & In the Pulpit

A pop-cultural survey of black preachers.

The Blues Brothers Central

We’ve talked about mega-church pastors across the country, the high rollers in the pulpit. We’re still waiting to see if the Obamas will claim a church home in Washington. And it's been a year since Jeremiah Wright’s name was rolling off our tongues in political conversation. It’s high time we paid respect to the great black preachers on TV and the big screen. From David Alan Grier as sleazy Rev. Leon Lonnie Love to James Brown as sweatin’-out-his-process Rev. Cleophus James, a look at our favorite pop culture preachers.

David Alan Grier as Rev. Leon Lonnie Love in Martin (1992-1997)

What’s funnier—err, creepier—than a preacher who pushes up on young single women? David Alan Grier plays Pam’s cousin in a couple of episodes of Martin, as a sleazy, scheming minister, always yearning for and rebuking the flesh. In this scene, his latest conquest is Gina, who has recently broken up with Martin.

NEXT UP: Sherman Hemsley in Amen...

This is one of the most memorable theme songs in TV history. Sherman Hemsley shows off his double-dutch skills and then struts into church like he’s on a mission.

NEXT UP: Arsenio Hall in Coming to America...

Of the many characters of Arsenio Hall, this has got to be an all-time classic scene. No need for an explanation. Just watch.