Although ABC’s hit television show Black-ish is a comedy, it’s managed to tackle some of the most pressing issues that African-Americans are faced with today. According to The Guardian, the series has left former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump divided when it comes to the way that it addresses race relations.
From The Guardian:
It’s a question that has divided US presidents: is the sitcom Black-ish the best thing on television or, well, racist? For Barack Obama, the show is like watching his own family on screen, while Donald Trump tweeted that the title alone is “racism at highest level”. If it is hard to imagine, say, Mrs Brown’s Boys sparking the same passion, that’s because Black-ish is not your average network comedy.
The programme follows Andre “Dre” Johnson, a wealthy executive, and his family through the usual sitcom misunderstandings, squabbles and moral dilemmas. So far, so Cosby Show. But Black-ish’s creator, Kenya Barris, has made a small tweak that sets the programme on to an altogether more groundbreaking track. Race is not treated as an incidental background detail but part of the show’s identity. The Johnsons are not a family who “happen to be black” but a family who are black. If that doesn’t sound revolutionary, it’s enough to ensure this broad, warm-hearted comedy confronts issues of race, class and culture every week.
While other comedies, from The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air to A Different World, snuck similar issues into their long runs, the directness of Black-ish’s approach is refreshing, from an episode dealing with police brutality to one finding gentle humour in how long the services in black churches can be. And the ratings and Emmy nominations point to its ability to find quick-fire laughs in both racist stereotypes and Dre’s ability to see them everywhere.
Black-ish creator Kenya Barris says that he was nervous to tackle issues related to race on his show, however, he believes that is was essential to do so. “Comedy is a good way to give people a spoonful of sugar with their medicine,” he told The Guardian. “The specific speaks to the universal, and the best story I knew was a family which was absolutely black, living in a world that was changing around them.”
SOURCE: The Guardian