Black-ish, the ABC sophomore sitcom, gave us one of the most powerful episodes of TV in recent memory. In this weeks episode, aptly titled "Hope," the Johnson family congregated in the living room to watch the news unfold regarding a fictional shooting of a black teenager at the hands of the police. Each member of the family reacted differently to the news that no charges would be filed, based largely on generation and personal experience with race relations and police. After discussing whether to break it to the kids about the reality of police brutality and race, they decide to have a frank discussion to explain to them the realities that they face. It was very tough scene to watch.
This discussion was not just for the actors, though. Any family watching at home was also welcomed into the Johnson living room. This show managed to educate a nation of children in one fell swoop in the most amazing way possible. By just talking to them and letting them ask the questions.
One scene, in particular, fully encapsulated the feeling that so many of us had after seeing the first Black president be elected. The fear that so many had was that Obama would not make it a day in office, let alone two full terms. Here is the monologue, in it's entirety. Please watch the video as well. It is more powerful than I can express in words.
“Oh, so you wanna talk about hope, ‘Bow? Obama ran on hope. Remember when he got elected? And we felt like maybe, just maybe, we got out of that bad place and made it to a good place. That the whole country was really ready to turn the corner. You remember that amazing feeling we had during the inauguration? I was sitting right next to you. We were so proud. And we saw him, get out of that limo, and walk alongside of it, and wave to that crowd. Tell me you weren’t terrified when you saw that. Tell me you weren’t worried that someone was gonna snatch that hope away from us like they always do. That is the real world, ‘Bow. And our children need to know that that’s the world they live in.”
Twitter was on fire after this show ended, and rightfully so. Here are a few of the notable tweets, regarding the Obama portion and the show in general.
This show, it's talented writers and brilliant cast, have managed to bring in a new era of sitcom tv that tackles not only the mundane family issues, like dating and grandparents moving in, but also serious issues like race and police brutality. They presented it in a non preachy way, allowed the viewer both into their living room but also kept enough space between them to require the viewer to think past the dialogue.
Every once in a while you watch a show and realize that this is history being made, this is something truly special, something you will always remember. For some it was the finale of MASH, others it was the finale of Friends. For me, it will always be this one episode of a sitcom.
I encourage you to watch this show, even if this is the only episode you watch.