The Story Behind Black-ish, ABC's Newest TV Series
The Hollywood Reporter interviewed the producers behind several of the new fall offerings on TV to find out how they pitched their series, the stories behind the show title, and how they netted their stars. One of the people they quizzed was Kenya Barris, the creator and executive co-producer of ABC's newest sitcom Black-ish.
Regarding the title of the show, Barris told The Hollywood Reporter: "Instead of calling it "The Burbs" or "New Rules" or something like that, we wanted to reflect that this is the world we are living in. I feel like my kids are a little bit of a lesser version of what I remember the ideology of what black was. At the same time, all of their friends - who are mostly non-black kids - are a little bit more black than I remember. They're sort of black-ish, all their little friends, and my kids are sort of black-ish. We're living in a world where Asian culture has influenced us and Latino culture has influenced us, and youth culture is so homogenized to a point where, if you look from our main character's point of view, he sees the world as sort of black-ish - everyone is a little bit of a layering of each other."
Black-ish, ABC's newest sitcom series, airs every Wednesday at 9:30 PM beginning September 24. A half hour TV show, it is loosely based on Kenya Barris, own life as an upwardly mobile black man. As for its gist, the writer in an interview with Indie Wire said, "I decided to do this project when I looked up and realized that everywhere I go I'm constantly the fly in buttermilk... I'm usually THE Black guy at work. We're THE Black family in the neighborhood. My kids are basically THE Black kids at school. I think it's kind of a situation of be careful what you wish for. It's almost in like moving on up, I've sort of priced myself "out" of being Black." The Black-ish TV series stars Anthony Anderson as Andre 'Dre' Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow Johnson, Yara Shahidi as Zoey Johnson, Mark Adebowale as Andre Johnson, Jr., Miles Brown as Jack Johnson, and Marsai Martin as Diane Johnson. Producer Laurence Fishburne appears in a recurring guest capacity as Dre's father Pops.
The debut episode of Black-ish was generally positively received by critics and TV reviewers. Rotten Tomatoes gave the show an 84% rating and notes that "although it seems uncertain of its target audience, Black-ish ingratiates with a diverse cast and engaging cultural issues." The Vulture says that "in its own sweet way, this is a landmark show." People thinks "Black-ish deserves a laughing chance." And The Hollywood Reporter, in its own review of the show, pronounced: "More than anything else, however, Black-ish has something to say about cultural identity and parenting and the changing world around us. Those are universal issues, and Black-ish is a true bright spot in a bleak fall TV landscape."
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