In This Issue
For eight seasons, black-ish has delivered timeless episodes speaking to our past, our present and our future as Black Americans. Through lighthearted commentary and well-informed points of view, the show has broken down some of the greatest pockets of Black culture. Being tokenized, Black parenting methods, LGBTQ family members, sneakerhead culture, navigating the corporate workplace and more— if you've experienced it as a Black person, they've most likely cover it. As Blackness is experienced in so many different ways, the show has done extremely well with fitting in complex views into the general landscape of what being Black means and looks like.
Not only has black-ish provided a lens into what Black households discuss regularly, it has also given a platform of understanding surrounding these nuanced conversations. Here are some of the most memorable moments in the show's history that have helped to define the show's legacy:
Juneteenth, Season Four
Black-ish was schooling folks about Juneteenth before it was popping in mainstream pop culture and definitely helped start a broader conversation amongst the masses before it was a holiday. In this musical episode, the Johnsons take a page out of the Hamilton playbook and stylizes American history in a way everyone can understand.
Pops' Pops' Pops, Season One
Like most Black families, tracing our family roots is significant due to the fragmentation of our collective history. However, because so much of our history is lost, it leaves a lot to the imagination for what actually is truthful. Inspired by the 1920s era, this episode tells Johnson family history in an attempt to help the twins with their school family genealogy assignment with Mary J. Blige as a guest star.
Black Like Us, Season Five
Colorism manifests itself in varying forms within the Black community. In this episode, the deep roots and subtle yet hurtful micro-agressions related to colorism are addressed by way of Diane's lighting in a school picture. In this scene, Diane rightfully checks her family for their internalized colorism and how it feels to have the darkest complexion in the family.
White Guilt, Season Three
The ability for Black kids to attend college is a privilege that all Black families hope that they can afford their children as a means of beating systemic disenfranchisement. However, the biggest challenge aside from staying in college is getting in. Bow assists Zoey with her college essay and encourages her to lay the white guilt on thick. Zoey's acceptance and later attendance of college marks the first transition of one of the Johnson kids and the introduction of the spin-off series Grown-ish.
Blue Valentime, Season Four
What makes Black-ish so unique is it's positive yet nuanced portrayals of Black family life. In the same vein, it was true to form for the show to highlight challenges experienced by all families, regardless of race. This powerful episode explored Bow and Dre's struggles to connect with one another leading to conversations of separation and divorce. This arc in the Johnsons' story had viewers emotional and on the edge of their seats for what was next for the family's future. If this scene doesn't give you chills, we don't know what will.
Purple Rain, Season Five
When Diane and Jack aren't hip to the musical goodness that is the Artist Formerly Known As Prince, the Johnson family intends to show them what the hype is about. In black-ish's 100th episode, they pay homage to the late Prince Nelson Rogers and needless to say that the youngest Johnsons got it.
This performance from Junior, who was definitely feeling himself, highlights the everlasting impact of Prince.
Feminisn't, Season Six
The concept of feminism can be a difficult concept for many to grasp within our community. After telling a young woman to smile (cringe), Junior and Jack do their best to educate Dre on the best ways to be an ally in support of women. The family evaluates ways that they can show up and step into supporting other women along with further understanding their own identity.
OG fans of Girlfriends internally screamed when we were able to see a mini reunion of the all-star cast. It was refreshing to see Jill-Marie Jones, Golden Brooks, Persia White and Tracee Ellis-Ross all together on one screen again. Furthermore, their presence succinctly brought the episode's premise together as a group of women who helped to define understandings of Black womanhood and ultimately feminism in a major way.
Our Wedding Dre, Season Seven
After seasons of seeing Pops and Ruby finally work toward building an amicable relationship with one another, the two fall back in love and decide to get married. After much protesting, Dre finally comes around to seeing his parents get married in a heart-warming ceremony done in Johnson fashion. This episode proved that it's never too late for Black love, even after heartbreak.
Good-ish Times, Season Two
Black-ish stands on the shoulders of all the great Black sitcoms that came before it which makes complete sense as for why they would reimagine the timeless series Good Times. As Dre dozes off, he is transported to an alternate reality where his family takes the place of the Evans family.
That's What Friends Are For, Season Eight
This one's a spoiler from the current season so if you haven't caught up and binged it all by now, you better get to it, fam.
Former FLOTUS Michelle Obama guest stars and has dinner with Dre and Bow after meeting at a benefit gala. As can be expected, the whole family is willing to roll out the red carpet for Mrs. Obama and are upset to learn that they didn't snag an invite to the evening's events in the Johnson family dining room.