There’s no lack of shows that people seem to sleep on, but one I think deserves more credit is ‘Black-ish’. The show centers around Dre Johnson (played by Anthony Anderson) who is struggling to raise his black family in a suburban white neighborhood. It follows the ups and downs of being black in a world centered on whiteness and is the perfect mix of educational and funny. Other members of the cast include Yara Shahidi, Tracee Ellis Ross, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, Laurence Fishburn and Marsai Martin. Here are a few reasons why you should definitely watch this show:
1. Black Representation
Whilst many popular TV shows lack proper representation of black people, Black-ish is the opposite. All of the main characters are black-and not just stereotypes of black people either. The characters are multi-dimensional and are given proper back stories, allowing the viewers to understand them deeply and feel more engaged with the episodes. From the smart and stylish Zoey Johnson (played by Yara Shahidi) to the eccentric but loveable Junior (played by Marcus Scribner), there is a character for everyone to relate to. This is extremely important as black people are conventionally portrayed as being stereotypical “ghetto” figures, in comparison to white characters that are multilayered. This attitude towards black people in the media has started to change recently, though, and Black-ish is a contributing factor to this.
2. LGBT Representation
In the 22nd episode “Please don’t Ask, Please Don’t Tell”, Dre’s sister Rhonda is introduced, and she’s a lesbian. The episode tackles the taboo of homosexuality in the black community, as Rhonda had never officially come out to her family before this episode. The episode manages to be educational about the black LGBTQ+ community yet also entertaining.
3. Black Issues
Unlike a lot of other shows, Black-ish is vocal about issues pertinent to the black community. The episodes regularly tackle different facets of the struggles of Dre raising black children in a black neighborhood, and every episode explores a new issue which many black people face. A notable one is the 40th episode “Hope” which discusses police brutality and Black Lives Matter in one of the best ways ever shown on television.
It is discussed with such nuance and gives the opinions of black people from different ages and the impact of police brutality on them. Another notable episode is called “The Word”, which discusses who can and can’t say the N-word. Finally, “Being Bow-Racial” discusses the struggles of being biracial and how you don’t feel quite accepted in both white and black communities. The fact that Black-ish discusses these issues and still manages to remain funny is enough reason to convince you to watch the show.
4. Guest Stars
Aside from being educational and funny, Black-Ish also has a lot of guest stars. For example, Hamilton star Daveed Diggs has been a series regular for season 3, and he plays Bow’s brother Johan. Other guest stars include Tyra Banks, Mary J Blige, Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth, Raven Symone and Zendaya, among others. Kendrick Lamar also appears in a promotion for season 3.
Finally, if all of the above reasons weren’t enough to convince you, then Black-ish is also extremely hilarious, and the jokes which aren’t cheesy or superficial manage to entertain everyone who watches is. This should all be enough incentive to make you want to start watching this show. If people consistently hype up mediocre Eurocentric shows which aren’t even that good, then there is no reason why we should continue to sleep on Black-ish, which is diverse, educational and also hilarious.
Written by: Nadia Awad.
Keshav Kant, aka Mx. KantEven, is a med student tuned Executive Director of Off Colour!
You’ve probably seen her on Twitter and TikTok, both @MxKantEven, or caught her work on Off Colour's many channels.
From consulting on films & shows, manuscript review, conducting interviews, or hosting podcasts & panels, if there is some way to bring sensitivity and authenticity to diversity, inclusion and equity conversations, Keshav will be there.