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“Black-ish”: Refreshing Sitcom

Black-ish, a new ABC comedy, addresses what raising a middle-class, African America family involves. The sitcom received a a full-season order on October 9th. After viewing seven of its eight episodes for the series’ first season, I have come to enjoy tuning in on a weekly basis.

Its cast of  Andre (Dre) and Rainbow (Anthony Anderson and Tacee Ellis Ross), their children Zoey (Yara Shahidi), Andre Jr (Marcus Scribner), Jack (Miles Brown), and Diane (Marsai Martin), and Andre’s father Pops (Lawrence Fishburne) enact the experience of having children at a mostly white private school and, fortunately, do not show a stereotypical view of this family’s “Afro” experience.

In one of the first episodes, Dre’s family stands in front of their home as a tour bus full of white passengers rides by and a tour guide announces, “And if you look to the left you’ll see the mythical and majestic Black family out of their natural habitat, yet still thriving. Go ahead and wave, they’ll wave right back. They are just . . . just amazing.” Such a scenario is as racist as it comes, and, thus, the shows directors reveal how “real” life is even when a black family “moves on up.”

Both Dre and Rainbow endure other profiling incidents within the neighborhood even though she is a doctor and he is a Vice President at work–and the only one until a new black guy enters his firm.

Glad for their family’s opportunities, Dre and Rainbow second guess their decision to send the children to an independent school after realizing they seem to be living in a post-racial America. Pops believes his grandchildren do not appreciate how much other black people have scarified for them. The youngest children are unaware of who the first black president is, and the oldest children have few black friends at their new private school.

Black-ish explores topics without preaching its message. Viewers are prompted to answer the following: What is black culture? If one is “lacking” in this culture, are they less black? Are they “black-ish?”

The answer is that there is no set definition of what black persons are or what they should be. Black-ish slowly yet continually tears down years of stereotypes in a family-friendly way.

Written by Sydnie Boykins’15


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