Bernie Mac’s comedic genius and legacy continues to endure, 12 years after his 2008 passing due to sarcoidosis complications. The anniversary of his death, August 9, prompted online tributes from former colleagues and fans. And while it’s obvious that his career, which spanned over three decades, was filled with highlights, it may not be as apparent how revolutionary his work was and how his thumbprint has been on generations since.

More specifically, Bernie Mac truly impacted the narrative around Black men and fatherhood. Despite some of his problematic jokes that would make anyone clutch their pearls by today’s standards, he somehow managed to transcend audiences and thrive in mainstream America. Who would’ve thought?  In honor of the cultural icon, who is Bernie Mac, here are five ways this king of comedy influenced the culture.