‘Black-ish’ Creator On Bringing ‘The N-Word’ Back To Television

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Black-ish’ Creator On Bringing ‘The N-Word’ Back To Television.

Race, gun control, and economic disparity don’t exactly scream comedy, but the issues make up the backbone of one of television’s funniest sophomore series. In its first season, ABC’s popular comedy series, “black-ish” delivered on a mission to raise awareness around various topics on race and family, and that objective hasn’t changed as the show gears up for a fall premiere.LOS ANGELES (AP) — When “black-ish” creator Kenya Barris confiscated his daughter’s phone for a teenage misstep, he was taken aback by one message string he read.

Soon you’ll see American President Barack Obama in a complete different role as he will reportedly appear on African-American sitcom ‘Black-ish’. The show’s sophomore season will address topics including health care and other issues affecting the black community, as well as dialogue surrounding the use of “the n-word.” “There’s a lot of stuff that we’re going to cover, and I’m scared because you always want to tell good stories and you want to do it in a way to get people talking,” he told The Huffington Post. “But at the same time, some of those same stories are the ones that you sort of put into a corner and I hope that people are understanding and like the way that we’re doing it.” The second season premiere features scenes of the Johnson family attempting to dissect the usage of “the n-word,” which characters say and is bleeped in the scene above. Barris realized that it’s “become for them this word that has no history, no understanding, nothing but that rap has made it a cool rhyming word, or something to add punctuation to a sentence.

Anthony Anderson, the famed star of the comedy series, revealed that he’s trying his best to bring the first African-American President of US and his wife Michelle Obama for a guest appearance on the hit ABC show, E! With episodes touching on the N-word, gun ownership, and health and wellness in the African-American community, Black-ish “prides itself on dealing with topics and subject matter that are divisive,” says Anderson. Barris said he was previously apprehensive about highlighting the word on the show, but has since changed his mind and feels the premiere episode will be a good entry point to dissecting the term on television. “One of the things that we hoped would take off [in season one] was topic-driven humor.

It’s lost all meaning.” That epiphany lead to the second-season opener of ABC’s “black-ish,” airing 8:30 p.m. (CDT) Wednesday (Sept. 30), which puts the word in the context of both the multigenerational Johnson family and, more broadly, within black history. We spoke to the actor for our Fall TV Preview mega-issue; see below for more from our Q&A with Anderson, who reveals how the series’ arcs come to fruition and why Black-ish tries to be as “unapologetic” as possible. ANTHONY ANDERSON: Our first episode back is about Dre wanting to purchase a gun for the safety of his family, and Rainbow [Tracee Ellis Ross] is opposed to it.

The N-word is used perhaps a dozen times by different characters but is always bleeped out. “Black-ish” stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross as parents whose crowded household includes four children and granddad Pops (Laurence Fishburne). Meanwhile, the kids thought we already had one, and once they found out we didn’t, they’re just like, “So, you had us flapping in the wind?!” It’s about me tackling that and trying to convince Bow that it’s the right thing to do. His elementary school talent show rendition of Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,” N-word included, sends the audience into shock and administrators into action: Jack is to be expelled under a “zero tolerance” policy that his own mother, Dr. Jack [Miles Brown] goes to school and does a little performance while dancing to Kanye West and Jamie Foxx’s “Gold Digger,” and he says the N-word on stage and gets expelled from school for hate speech. It’s about who has the right to say that word — should it be said at all? — and it’s definitely not hate speech coming from a 9-year-old kid who has not an ounce of hate in his body, but he was expelled for singing along to the lyrics from a song.

For some African-Americans there’s “some kind of community within the idea that that’s what we’ve been called in this country,” and it’s now theirs to own. “We were going to fight to have it said once or twice, but hearing it felt like a barrier to entry” for viewers, he said, with the bleep enough to evoke its power. Because of that divisiveness, people are able to have a dialogue about it and sometimes you come away with a different perspective than the one you entered the conversation with. The second one he credits to veteran TV producer Norman Lear, who made socially relevant comedies including “All in the Family.” Viewers should enjoy the show with their family, Barris suggested, then “let’s talk to our kids we just watched this with and start a conversation.” Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. When we met for the first time, we met to talk about business but we ended up talking about each other and found out that we had more in common than not.

Like, “Okay, all of this is yours, but we just resodded the field so you can’t go there just yet,” and, “We just painted the basketball court so the paint is still drying. What’s it like to be able to project that experience — almost a series of teachable moments — to an audience that may have never had to experience that sort of thing before? I’m not in the writers’ room, but Kenya and I will sit down and talk about life and all of a sudden there’ll be a complete episode based on a conversation we had.

In another [season 2] episode, Pops [Laurence Fishburne] has to go to the hospital to get checked out, and he brags about not having gone to the hospital in 35 years. “I’ll just take aspirin,” you know, and then when he goes to the hospital he finds out something is really wrong with him and we have to deal with that.

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