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The Great Debate: Is Blackish Unrelatable?

As some of our readers may know, long running show Blackish has ended. The show followed the Johnson family, a middle-class African American family who navigated many issues, including two parents raising five children, and dealing with family, work, and all that life has to offer in between. The show was a comedic take on the modern day nuclear family, with an all Black cast. But when viewers caught wind that the show was ending, there were mixed reviews. Some were disappointed by the thought of saying goodbye to their longtime favorite characters, while others rejoiced. Some comments included:

“This show was corny, which Black family is living like this?”

“I hope they replace this show with something that’s actually for Black people. Like a modern day Good Times vibe”

“Blackish is the type of show that's about Black people, for White people”

So this begs the question, why is Blackish unrelatable?

Now this is just my opinion and at the end of the day, whether you find Blackish relatable or not is completely up to you. But why is it so hard for us to believe in the storyline in Blackish?

Do Black middle-class families not exist?

Why do some people find them corny?

Yes, the storylines usually end with the family solving some sort of problem and coming together as one, but isn’t that the same concept as Full House and Friends? Why should we put Black creativity in a box and only create one narrative for ourselves. While this show may not resonate with all Black families, it does resonate with some. It resonates with those who are in white- suburban America, and are usually the few, if not only people of color dealing with how to navigate those spaces. In one episode, their son Junior wants a Bar Mitzvah after someone in his school has one, unaware of the religious and cultural aspects of one. He wants one because he's in a predominantly white space and that is what he finds as the norm.

Rainbow, the matricach of the family, is one of the only Black doctors at her hospital, constantly having to show up and show out as a woman of color. And lastly, Dre Johnson, an executive advertiser who is constantly pigeon holed by his white male counterparts despite being one of the most qualified people there.

This show exemplifies that as Black people, at any level, at any income and in space, we are faced with challenges, all different, but all motivated by the same thing, our race. Blackish shows the middle-class implications of being a Black person in this space without negating the experience of those who are not in this space.

So while the show may have its share of corny moments, or happy-go-lucky dialogue, I enjoyed the show for what it was.

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