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The Family Comedy Hit Black-ish

returns to ABC for Third Season

by Lea Michelle Cash/Published 8/11/2016/onlineprecinctreporter-A5 

         








    



Recently the entire extraordinary cast of ABC’s hit show “Black-ish” (Jenifer Lewis, Laurence Fishburne, Tracee Ellis-Ross, Anthony Anderson, Yara Shahdi, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, Marsai Martin and the show’s executive producers  Kenya Barris and Jonathan Groff appeared as a panel at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour held in Beverly Hills. 


     As the fifth–highest rated comedy on television to date, the popular family show is sailing right into its third television season, featuring a upper middle class Black man (Anderson) trying to raise his colorblind children with a sense of black cultural identity. His wife (Ellis-Ross) on the other hand is an absolute unapologetically liberal, and completely the opposite of Anderson.   After being on air for two years, the show has won multiple awards and recently has been nominated for three Emmys and received the TCA Outstanding Achievement in a Comedy Award.  







 

As the media hammered out questions and issues of concern regarding the programs ability to highlight and capture through humor some of today’s difficult situations, the lively and spirited bunch answered sharing experiences about each other, anecdotes, and occurrences that have happened on set.  “Kenya sat down three or four years ago now and looked at the landscape of television and saw what was missing for us,” Anderson said. “And I’m proud to be up here on the stage with all these foot soldiers up here, because this is for us, by us.  We get to tell our stories every week that resonate with an audience globally. We couldn’t ask for anything more than that.”   From youngest to the oldest, they all profess to enjoy, love the show and each other. 

     Marsai Martin, one of the young ones spoke flashing a huge smile that she even gets a quarter every time that her grandmother played by Jenifer Lewis says a curse word on set.  Anderson throws in, “and she’s gonna have a million dollars by time we are through with this show.”    

     One reporter mentioned Donald Trump remarks about the name of the show, “Black-ish”.  Ms. Lewis who is hilarious in her role as Ruby,


Anderson’s mom, says, “Ain’t nobody listening to Trump.”  And, then things started to go slightly to the left as another reporter asked the


executive producer Kenya Barris, “How much of the series audience is black?  Barris throws his head back, visually frustrated by the question


said, “It doesn’t matter who’s watching our show.   The fact is that they’re watching it.  And I feel like every question at every panel … I get so


tired of talking about diversity. These are amazing, talented actors, with amazing writers who give their all and they don’t have to do this. It’s


crowding the conversation.”  He continued,  “I will be so happy when diversity is not a word.”


       It is an awkward moment and there was silence.  Ellis-Ross breaks the silence and flips back asking the reporter, “Is that a question that you’ve asked other shows that are not predominately of a certain color?” “Not necessarily,” said the reporter. “Well those questions continue the conversation in a direction that does not help the conversation,” said Ross.  Barris chimed back in, “We always have to box everything in.  Isn’t it just a good family show?  Yes, it’s specifically about a black family. We are not denying that.   But don’t you see yourself in it? Don’t you see your family in it?  Why is that important, who watched the show? Why does it matter? Why do we keep having to have these conversations?”  

     Barris did later revealed that the series’ audience is majority white and 23% African-American and remarked, Why can’t we see the show for what it is?”

Amosart Image/Angela Maria Ortiz S