ABC’s freshman sit-com “Black-ish” debuted Wednesday giving viewers the opportunity to better understand the show’s title and exactly what it means. Maybe, just maybe taking the edge off of its somewhat controversial title, and the promotional spot that has Tracee Ellis Ross proclaiming that her hair and big ass should be enough to register her as a Black woman.
Executive producer and star, the very funny Anthony Anderson, said on the “Sway in the Morning Radio Show” that people were tweeting him about the title, saying that they were not going to watch the ‘coon’ show and equated it with ignorance.
Hosts from the web series “Dawson and Denise TV” asked the question was “Black-ish” problematic or progressive? Denise only saw a trailer and she simply “wasn’t down with it,” whereas Dawson had the opportunity to see an entire episode and felt it was pretty good, and that people would eventually like it.
Admittedly, when I initially saw the trailer for the show my first thought was, “Oh, Lord, why do they want to do that?” What I meant by ‘that’ I’m not sure, but for some reason alarms went off in my head blaring, “Not this, not now.” Maybe it was because I wasn’t used to seeing a Black woman on network television talking about the size of her ass. That was new to me, and kind of unsettling. But it was my girl Tracee Ellis Ross, an actress of fine reputation, and I looked at the rest of the outstanding cast and thought maybe we’ve got something here.
After viewing the first episode of “Black-ish” I do believe it will not only be an entertaining show, but a show of enlightenment…if they don’t get lazy and formulaic with the writing.
“The show is about a Black family—not about a family that happens to be Black,” show creator Kenya Barris explains, “but the issues would also be relevant if the characters were Jewish, Latino, Asian, etc.” Anthony Anderson stars as an upper-middle-class man who struggles to raise his children with a sense of cultural identity despite constant contradictions and obstacles from his liberal wife, old-school father and his own assimilated, color-blind kids.” Barris insists the show “has much less to do with race than culture.”
In reality, one of the most difficult things a Black child has to learn when he or she grows up in a White community is at some in point in life their “blackness” will come into play. It’s up to the parents to help give that child a sense of self. If a child embraces their own culture and knows their history in America, then racism and racist attitudes will not cut as deep.
I believe “Black-ish” will bring a new dialogue to Black television viewers. We know how Whites see us and stereotype us, now we’ll see how we see ourselves, and create a new dialogue. “Black-ish” has the cast to do it.
Anderson was raised in Compton, Barris was raised in Inglewood and Ross’ father is White. Her mother is none other than the legendary Diana Ross. They all are familiar with being Black and affluent, or part Black in a White world that forces you to choose. I’m looking forward to the subjects they will bring to the table and the lessons we all can learn about being Black or Black-ish America.
To learn more about the show visit http://abc.go.com/shows/blackish.
“Black-ish” airs on ABC, Wednesday nights at 9:30 p.m.