Beth’s Black-Ass Backstory on This Is Us Is Coming Together With Phylicia Rashad Portraying Her Mama

(L-R): Actress Phylicia Rashad speaks onstage during AHF and Debbie Allen Present Keeping the Promise-1,000,000 Lives In Care: Celebrating Icons of Dance on November 30, 2018 in New York City. ; Susan Kelechi Watson attends the Amazon Prime Video’s Golden Globe Awards After Party on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.
Photo: Monica Schipper (Getty Images for AHF), Neilson Barnard (Getty Images)


Fans of This Is Us have been waiting for Beth Pearson’s (Susan Kelechi Watson) backstory for four score and fifty-eleven years—and the wait is coming to an end.


For us to have a backstory on young Beth, we have to see her parents. And it looks like we have one-half of that duo on lock! According to Entertainment Weekly, the legendary Phylicia Rashad will be portraying Beth’s mother, Carol.

This is a huge deal for two reasons:

1. Duh. Rashad is the queen mother of black television mothers.

2. Rashad and Watson have a real-life connection. From Veronica Webb on The Glow Up:

As the TV mother of two daughters—and now foster daughter Deja—with dream husband Randall ever by her side, Beth is a decision-maker, unflappably weathering challenges with a Vulcan-like logic seemingly guiding her every action. She’s a Clair Huxtable for our generation—with a touch of Michelle Obama’s steely nerve and reserve. Maybe it was foreshadowing that Watson was once chosen by fellow Howard alumnus Phylicia Rashad to study Shakespeare with a London theater company.

As for the other half—where’s Beth’s daddy?

Well, fellow writer at The Root, Ibn Safir has a theory. So, remember when the Season 3 premiere opened with Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Franco Harris? It was a whole ass montage following Harris on the iconic day he made the 1972 game-winning touchdown now referred to as the Immaculate Reception.


It seemed random and out-of-place, but everyone who watches this show knows one thing is always certain: anything and everything within this canon is connected in some way, even small.

So, as Lebeau pointed out, what if Harris is Beth’s grandad? Is he connected to Cousin Zoe (Melanie Liburd) in any way?


The possibilities—they are endless. And this writer’s room loves to toy with our emotions. In fact, let me order a bulk of tissues from Amazon to prepare. Hey, Fat Kid Deals, hey.

We’ll be waiting. Along with the answer to that fuckass cliffhanger regarding Jack Pearson’s (Milo Ventimiglia) brother.


Anyway, we’ll find it all out during the latter half of Season 3 when This Is Us returns from its winter break on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

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About the author

Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.