The 'Black-ish' Season 1 Finale Took Us Back to the Harlem Renaissance

Not to get too deep but the African oral tradition is alive and well and was a big part of the black-ish season-one finale.

Not to get too deep but the African oral tradition is alive and well and was a big part of the black-ish season-one finale.

That’s because Pops told a fun and fascinating story in Wednesday night’s installment about his grandparents in hopes of fleshing out Jack and Diane’s family tree project for school. While the story was apocryphal at best, it did allow Pops to bring together Dre, Rainbow and their adorable kids for a warm and fuzzy moment focused solely on family.

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In the story, Pops’ grandfather Drexler and grandmother Bea – who looked a lot like Dre and Rainbow – had to fight for their love because he was a lowly ice delivery man and she was a dancer at the Savoy in Harlem during the 1920s Renaissance. Bea’s boss, Elroy Savoy (guest star Sean P. Diddy Combs), didn’t want Drexler to be with Bea so he threw around his gangster status to keep them apart. At one point, Bea had to slap Drexler to save him from Elroy’s wrath.

That slap tho #blackishABC

But Drexler wasn’t going to give up without a fight especially after Mirabelle (guest star Mary J. Blige), the Savoy’s singing sensation, convinced him that Bea was worth it. So Drex challenged Elroy to a dance off in hopes of winning Bea’s hand. Elroy wasn’t much of a dancer so he had an errand boy, who looked a lot like Jack, do the dancing for him. The result was nothing short of hilarity, especially when Drexler did a series of elaborate breakdancing moves courtesy of a slightly thinner and more agile stunt double.

That face you make when your great grandfather invents break dancing after slipping on an ice chip: #blackishABC

The breakdancing body double for Anthony Anderson has to be 50 lbs lighter. LMAO #blackishABC

Ever the sore loser, Elroy said Drex’s moves disqualified him from winning and that’s when Drex, Bea and four orphans/Savoy employees who looked a lot like Zoe, Junior, Jack and Diane made a run for it. And the rest, as they say, is history as the six became a family and the orphans became Pop’s adopted uncles and aunts. “Our family. Our culture,” Dre said proudly, as the episode and the first season came to a triumphant close. “The details of the story might change over time but the important thing is we tell it.” In addition to an entertaining tale, the episode included Blige singing her hit tune “I’m Going Down,” beautiful costumes and hair, downtown Los Angeles’ historic Cicada Club doubling as the Savoy, and a reverent nod to the Harlem Renaissance and icons from that era such as Langston Hughes.

Mary J. Bilge sings her iconic cover of "I'm Going Down"! #bla... WATCH NOW: #whipclip

@TraceeEllisRoss This is Blackish meets Harlem Nights with a stomping at the Savoy feel...beautiful!

Loving this Savoy/Cotton Club themed episode of #Blackish! #blackishABC


What did you think of the black-ish season-one finale and are you excited about season two? Weigh in below.

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