In the Fall of 2014,
Black-ish joined the short list of Black television sitcom families that warmed our hearts while making us laugh for 30 minutes, once a week.
The award-winning ABC comedy is unlike any other as the show is centered round a Black family with all of their quirks and differences, living in predominately White community. Parents Dre and Bow do their best to expose their children to a multicultural environment as they also try to instill in them the values — and harsh realities — that come with being Black in America.
The quick-witted one-liners may crack us up, but the real messages behind each episode is what makes
Black-ish real. Whether they discussed police brutality in the Black community or digging deep into why interracial dating still rubs some people the wrong was, Black-ish isn't afraid to say what other shows are thinking, if those programs address these issues at all.
Here are 12 all the way real episodes of
Black-ish that need to be watched — and re-watched — by people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. Just put a pot of greens on, spark up the grill, and invite the whole neighborhood over.
In the wake of reports of a number of Black men and woman who lost their lives to police brutality in real life,
Black-ish tackled the sensitive subject with honesty. In the scene, as a family they watched a news report about a young man who was killed at the hands of those who were entrusted to protect and serve before having a difficult conversation with each other as adults while explaining to their children the harsh realities of the world we live in.
Zoey begins questioning her belief in God which causes dad Dre and grandma Ruby to sit her down to stress the importance of a higher power. The belief in God, specifically Christianity, has been a staple in the Black community since prior to the Civil War era as masters indoctrinated their slaves with their beliefs. While believing in God can be a personal choice in more modern years, many families pass down religion as if it's in their genes.
Black-ish grappling with a young person's belief in God in a family that doesn't think there is any questioning to be done can be a sore subject in the home.
Appreciating You Black Queen a.k.a Your Momma
For one week, Dre takes over Rainbow's "mom duties" by taking on her everyday tasks. Initially he finds it all to be quite simple, especially when he is hailed at every turn for being such a great dad. Dre enjoys all of the praise he receives, that is until the pressure becomes too much for him to handle. Only then does he realize how much his partner takes on and appreciates Rainbow's motherly sacrifices.
Zoey finds a French boy at her school that she likes, and in later episodes Junior brings home Megan, a blonde girl who seems to have everything in common with him. Bow has reservations about Junior's new girlfriend, which Ruby says is because Megan is white, but that prompts her to embark on her own self-discovery of her true feelings about being raised by a white father and black mother.
Dre's sister, Rhonda (Raven-Symoné) comes to visit and while he pretty much knows his sister is gay — she lives in a one bedroom apartment with her mechanic "friend" Sharon — it isn't a conversation he wants to talk about. Bow does her best to be supportive of Rhonda and Sharon through the process, because the next step is coming out to Ruby. When she does, her mother goes through the stages of denial, dramatics, Bible verses, and then acceptance.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
Kids love the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday because they get a long weekend and a day off of school, but it's important to remember that the day itself isn't about taking a vacation. On the "Martin Luther Skiing Day" episode, the Johnsons are taking their annual MLK Day family trip, but the parents realize that their children aren't aware of the significance of Dr. King. As generations move father and father away from the Civil Rights movement of the 20th century it's easy for rising generations to be unaware of sacrifices of those that came before them.
Despite having a higher death rate than whites for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and strokes, there is a stigma in the Black community that regular visits to the doctor should be avoided. In "Dr. Hell No," Dre finds out that his father hasn't been to the doctor's in many years. Throughout the episode the family convinces Pops to receive the medical treatment he needs and sheds light on the importance of taking care of ones own health.
It's wildly accepted when an older man takes up with a younger woman. He's hailed as some sort of hero among his social circle, but let it be an older woman with a younger man and somehow the coupling is no longer acceptable. Ruby finds her a new beau who just happens to be a decade or two her junior, causing an upheaval in the Johnson household. However, it doesn't stop her from getting her groove back.
Dre has a real conversation with his co-workers following the upsetting 2016 Presidential Election. Daphne (Wanda Sykes) asks her white, female co-worker why she and her white "sisters" didn't storm the voting booths and get Hillary Clinton elected. That's a common question that people of color have been asking since hearing that President 45 was going to be the next President of the United States, and an answer that has yet to be given. The white co-worker gave the answer that many white women don't want to admit: she voted for President 45.
Fear Of The BBM (Big Black Man)
People cross the street when they see you coming, lock their doors if you pass by, and grip tight their purses in elevators: yep, that's the normality of being a Black man in America.
Black-ish explores just a few of these realities in "Who's Afraid of the Big Black Man?," ending with Dre behind the wheel with Junior, Bow's brother and their drunk and passed out white neighbor Janine in the front seat as they are pulled over by the police. Not an ideal scenario to be in as Black man, and definitely not anywhere you want to be if you have a inebriated white woman with you who can't wake up.
Black Toys Matter
The episode opens with Janine gifting young Diane with a doll. However, the doll Diane receives is white with a short blonde haircut and looks nothing like her or anyone in her family. When Bow and Diane try to exchange the doll for one with darker melanin, they realize that the company has little to no options when it came to having black characters. Thankfully there have been artists and innovators in real life who have created their own lines of dolls that resemble Black and Brown people so that children can see themselves in the toys that they play with.
Who can say it and who can't? Jack entered a talent show at his school and, after entertaining the crowd with a nice little dance number, went on to rapping Kanye West's "Gold Digger." The crowd was stone-cold silent after Jack dropped the N-bomb, forcing his school to threaten expulsion for such derogatory language. This raises the question of should anyone say the N-word? If Black people can use it as a term of endearment (as some say) or in songs, why can't everyone? And are there Black people who find the word offensive whether the n-word ends in an "a" or an "er"?