The star and executive producer of the show shares his fearless approach.
Black-ish has only been on television for three seasons, but the ABC comedy has been compared to classic Black TV shows like The Cosby Show and Good Times.
The show, which was created by Kenya Barris and is loosely based on Barris and executive producer and star Anthony Anderson’s experiences, depicts the daily lives of an upper-middle class Black family and also tackles subject matters that impact the Black community. From race and politics to police brutality and the N-word, there’s no topic too sensitive.
Anderson, who plays the patriarch Andre Johnson, recently stopped by The Los Angeles Times’ video studio to discuss the show and also explained why he and Barris are fearless when it comes to poignant issues.
“We leave it up to the public to enjoy it or debate,” said Anderson. “But there’s no trepidation at all because we come from an authentic place and that’s why we can dance the dance that we do in terms of the subject matters that we deal with. When you come at it from a real place and you’re authentic to who you are, who these characters are and what the dynamic of this family is, you can do just about anything and have it resonate with someone. And that’s what we do.”
A few memorable episodes include season two’s premiere episode, “The Word,” when Jack (played by Miles Brown) performed Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” at school and said the N-word; season two’s “Hope” which tackled police brutality and discussed the Black Lives Matter movement after the family watched an unarmed young Black man get shot by police; and the “Lemons” episode in season three, which depicted the 2016 presidential election.
Anderson also told the Times that he and Barris often look to sitcoms like All in the Family for inspiration.
“These were the [shows] that were poignant and had a point of view and had something to say whether you agreed with it or not,” he explained. “And that’s what was so great about those shows and television back then. The point of view that they had and them being unashamed to go where it is that the subject matter took them.”
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