ABC’s “black-ish,” the critically acclaimed hit family comedy, takes a fun yet bold look at one man’s determination to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family. The series stars Anthony Anderson as Andre “Dre” Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow Johnson, Yara Shahidi as Zoey Johnson, Marcus Scribner as Andre Johnson, Jr., Miles Brown as Jack Johnson, Marsai Martin as Diane Johnson, Laurence Fishburne as Pops, Jenifer Lewis as Ruby, Peter Mackenzie as Mr. Stevens and Deon Cole as Charlie Telphy.
The show received four Emmy® nominations in 2017: Outstanding Comedy; Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy (Anthony Anderson), Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy (Tracee Ellis Ross) and Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy (Wanda Sykes). ABC’s “black-ish” received a prestigious Peabody Award in 2016 and the American Film Institute selected the show as one of their Television Honorees for 2015. The show swept the 2018 NAACP Image Awards’ television comedy categories and won Outstanding Comedy Series for the fourth year in a row, Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for Anthony Anderson, Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for Tracee Ellis Ross, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Marsai Martin and Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series for Anton Cropper.
Like any parents, Andre “Dre” (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) Johnson want to give their children the best. But their offspring’s childhood is turning out to be much different than theirs. They now realize at least two things: there is a price to pay for giving their children more than what they ever had, and these loving parents are totally unprepared for the fallout.
Dre considers himself the family patriarch, and when he looks at his life, he sees a beautiful wife and five kids living happily in their colonial home in the ‘burbs. But when he looks a little closer – have the trappings of success brought too much assimilation for this black family? The world he sees has a much different lens than the one he would like his family to look through.
He may disagree with some of the liberal viewpoints of his biracial wife, Rainbow, an anesthesiologist. But they are in agreement that they want to successfully raise their family in a better situation than what they had. Much to her husband’s wonderment, she believes their children can exist in a colorless society. She takes pride in her husband breaking down barriers as the first black senior VP of his ad agency, Stevens & Lido.
Dre’s father, affectionately referred to as “Pops” (Laurence Fishburne), can be quite the curmudgeon and takes every opportunity to offer his opinion on family issues. But when Pops offers his usually curt and spot-on old school wisdom, it is difficult to disagree with him.
Rainbow may be Dre’s wife, but Ruby (Jenifer Lewis) is Dre’s mother, the woman who gave him life and acts as his emotional rock. She smothers Dre with love but doesn’t usually see eye to eye with Bow and loves to harp on her healthy cooking. She’s very protective of her grandkids but doesn’t feel they should be shielded from what’s really going on in the world.
Dre and Bow’s eldest son Andre Jr. (Junior), is charmingly naive about the world around him. Whether he’s saving the Earth one less shower at a time to become an Eco Hero or taking up the underappreciated sport of refereeing, Junior’s interests sometimes baffle Dre.
Zoey is Dre and Bow’s popular, entitled, stylish and socially active 17-year-old daughter, who heads off to college and quickly discovers that not everything goes her way once she leaves the nest. While Zoey is no longer living at home with the family, she still visits them often.
Rounding out the family are twins Diane and Jack. Diane is gifted and talented. She thinks she has all the answers but has yet to develop a filter to put them through. Although she is one minute older than Jack, she likes to think she is smarter than her twin brother by ten thousand minutes. Young Jack is more of the sensitive type and idolizes his dad. He is quick to give his father a compliment, even if it does come out a little awkwardly.
Dre’s boss, Mr. Stevens (Peter Mackenzie), is both rash and senseless as he navigates running the ad agency Stevens & Lido. He never seems flummoxed, even when he indicates that he has a tangled, if not disturbing family life, not to mention a romantic history that verges on terrifying chaos. Nothing touches Mr. Stevens: He never seems at a loss at work and expects everyone to defer to him, even when his lack of intelligence shows or when he seems deeply oblivious to the topic at hand.
Charlie Telphy is Dre’s eccentric co-worker at Stevens & Lido. Charlie’s an unpredictable wild card; one minute he’s on the phone, telling a client how to best induce “lucid nightmares” and the next he’s indicating that he may have two families in different cities. He’s not 100 percent sure of where the right boundaries are and what he should be doing in a given situation. Zoey runs into Charlie during college orientation where she learns that he moonlights as an adjunct marketing professor at Southern California University.
Dre is sincere about honoring his family’s past, while also embracing its future. As he defines what the American dream means to his family in a multicultural world, one idea keeps surfacing. It appears that in this melting pot called America, we are all a little … um, black-ish.
ABC’s “black-ish” was created by Kenya Barris and is executive produced by Barris, Stacy Traub, Anthony Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Helen Sugland, E. Brian Dobbins and Corey Nickerson. The series is produced by ABC Studios.
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