How the election episode of ‘black-ish’ could have been great instead of good

Posted on January 19, 2017

I understand why everyone is fawning over ABC’s black-ish. I even get why the most recent episode has seen rave reviews. However, what I cannot abide is the idea that the show “perfectly” sums up how Black Americans felt after Trump’s election. Not by a long shot.

black-ish is must watch TV in my household. On the show, the well-to-do Johnson family struggles with being highly successful and wealthy in Los Angeles while still having to navigate the world as Black people. Andre “Dre” Johnson (played by Anthony Anderson) is always engaged in some type of inappropriate conversation about race at work. Recent Golden Globe winner Tracee Ellis Ross plays Rainbow Johnson, Dre’s wife, who often fights for legitimacy despite being an ER doctor and tackles colorism issues as her father is White and her mother is Black. And their children fight to define what their own personal Blackness looks like.

As a southern California native, I can fully identify with the specific struggles the Johnsons go through, and for 30 minutes each week, black-ish helps me to regain a bit of my sanity and face the world knowing that I’m not the only one.

Still, my longstanding issue with this show is that it too often tailors itself to appeal to a broad audience instead of trying to best represent the feelings of Black Americans, and their most recent episode “Lemons” is a perfect case. In the episode, the Johnson family is trying to cope with Donald Trump winning the Presidential Election. While the smaller storylines do a brilliant job of illustrating the importance of learning the fullness of Black history and staying true to yourself, Dre’s main storyline, wherein he and his coworkers debate why Clinton lost and just how bad Trump supporters are, centers his love for this country over his own Blackness.


Read the full post on Water Cooler Convos.

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