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TV’s ‘black-ish’ ends 8-season run with legacy, followers safe | Life



LOS ANGELES (AP) — A shock awaited “black-ish” creator Kenya Barris and his household on a 2016 go to to the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington: An exhibit on the TV collection was on show.

“I used to be very, very emotional” at seeing the honor, Barris said. He returned to the Smithsonian museum earlier this month for a splashy salute to “black-ish” as the end of its eight-season run approached.

“It was just surreal. The Smithsonian, as a brand, is tied to things that are lasting, that are part of what the core DNA of this world is. To put our show in that, it meant a lot to me,” he said.

Sitcoms, especially family-centric ones, are more likely to be enshrined in viewers’ memories than museums. Shows such as “The Brady Bunch,” “Good Times” and “Full House” have been a part of their viewers’ coming of age, with the exhibits and their characters beloved effectively past their unique runs.

Talk to admirers of ’black-ish” and the identical appears possible for the collection, which airs its half-hour finale at 9 p.m. EDT Tuesday (midnight EDT on Hulu), adopted by ABC News’ “black-ish: A Celebration” on ABC. The collection was a community TV rarity: An outline of a affluent, tight-knit household of shade, the Johnsons, with Black creators shaping their tales.

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“I remember when it first came out, I was concerned that it was going to be either serious and off-putting, or really sad and comical,” drawing on stereotypical characters that will or could not exist in life, mentioned viewer Onaje Harper. The pandemic turned him right into a binge-viewing convert, one who swats away on-line carping that the present is not “real.”

“It’s not real to them, but this is my everyday,” mentioned Harper, an educator-turned-businessman in Dallas who’s the grandson and son of Black professionals. He remembers feeling the identical manner about criticism of “The Cosby Show,” a Twentieth-century TV depiction of a well-off African American household.

But “black-ish” has a distinctly extra layered view of race, beginning with the title that displays dad Andre “Dre” Johnson’s worry that affluence is separating his kids from their ethnic id. It additionally has a sharper tackle race relations, Harper mentioned.

He cited an episode wherein Dr. Rainbow “Bow” Johnson, performed by Tracee Ellis Ross, is being a supportive father or mother and volunteers for a personal college fundraiser. One of the white dad and mom provides her assist, which the present reimagines as code for, “I think you’re going to fail and you’re over your head,” as Harper recalled the scene.

“I died laughing, because the parents at my daughter’s school are amazing, but we often leave that place thinking, ‘Oh, my goodness, I hope our daughter’s loving it, at least,” Harper said.

Jerry McCormick grew up watching Bob Newhart’s sitcoms and “Good Times” within the Seventies and ’80s, amongst others. He in contrast “black-ish” to a different comedy of the time.

“We never saw affluent Black people on TV, except for ‘The Jeffersons,” mentioned McCormick of San Diego, who works in communications and as a journalism teacher. “I grew up in South Carolina and it helped having it on because it was aspirational.”

He sees ‘black-ish” as akin to “the grandchild of ’The Jeffersons’ and the child of ‘the Cosby Show.’ You have Dre and Bow, a couple who truly care about each other. They parent their children. They run the house. The children are not overtaking them.”

Ladinia Brown, a New York City fraud investigator, said she loves “the reality of it. The stuff is funny because a lot of is is just so true.” She cited a favourite episode that tackled colorism — discrimination inside an ethnic neighborhood towards these with darker pores and skin.

“That resonated with me because my kids are like different colors of the rainbow, all different complexions, and the same thing with my family,” she said. “I really understood when they were addressing how people are treated differently within the African American race.”

Her daughter, 19-year-old Emily Johnson, welcomed the show’s handling of issues, major and mundane, that are part of Black life but largely ignored on screen. One example: a teen’s quandary over whether to keep straightening her hair or go natural.

“When I was younger, I really didn’t like my hair because I felt it was hard to manage and I didn’t like the way it looked,” Johnson said. “But over time, I appreciated my hair, and when I watched the episode I liked when (they) talked about all the things that Black people’s hair can do.”

“Black-ish” also became a vehicle for sobering, nuanced chapters about racism, police violence and, in a hard-edged 2018 episode, the impact of Donald Trump’s presidency. (The episode, shelved by ABC, was released two years later on Hulu.).

The goal is “telling stories that are about something, telling stories that have a point, that are actually trying to say something. It was what television for a long time used to be about,” Barris said — whether it was dad’s moral sermons in “Leave It to Beaver” or the social satire of Norman Lear’s “All in the Family” and “Maude.”

While “black-ish” took on thorny points, it by no means surrendered the laughs in its greater than 170 episodes, mentioned Courtney Lilly, a author on the collection since its first season who grew to become an government producer and its showrunner.

“Obviously, there were episodes where we made sure we approached issues. But even in doing those we were relevant and funny,” Lilly said.

The series earned a prestigious Peabody Award and other awards – including multiple NAACP Image Awards for Anderson, Ross, Deon Cole and young actor Marsai Martin — but top Emmys have remained out of reach.

Asked about the show’s legacy, Barris points to its focus on those who feel unseen in the world, whatever their ethnicity, and how ‘black-ish’ sought to breach divisions.

“It’s often considered rude to talk about certain subjects that make people feel uncomfortable. We did that and, in the comfort of their homes,” he said. “I think it made people feel a little bit closer to people they may not have been close to before.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed with out permission.



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