"black-ish" re-airs 'Hope' & 'Juneteenth' episodes for Blackout Tuesday
Last night, to honor Blackout Tuesday, ABC re-aired two episodes of its popular black-ish television show that dealt with police brutality and slavery respectively. Blackout Tuesday was a day to acknowledge the Black Lives Matter movement and to hopefully educate the public on racism.
black-ish is a show that is not afraid to tackle tough issues and is always a great way to have discussions in your own family. So, it was great that ABC decided to re-air these episodes.
In the episode "Hope" (season 2, episode 16), the family gathers around the television to await news on the possible indictment of police in the killing of a black teenager. This episode could not be more relevant with the protests against the police's killing of George Floyd. And, at the same time, it's sad that these things are still happening. It's just the names that change. In the episode, Dre (Anthony Anderson) and his parents share a lot of anger against the police and its treatment of black people. Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) thinks its wrong to look at the police as enemies and thinks we should let the justice system work. This is a discussion that goes on in most families. We want to feel the hope that Rainbow feels, but, too often, that hope is dashed to the rocks.
In the episode "Juneteenth" (season 4, episode 1), Dre is incensed when his children are in a play glorifying Christopher Colombus. He doesn't understand why we celebrate such people who engaged in the slave trade and why we don't celebrate something like Juneteenth which celebrates the end of slavery on June 19 1865. Dre tries to convince his co-workers that this is something they should celebrate, but, he is constantly shut down by several of his white co-workers. I have actually experienced conversations like this before and they are frustrating. The whole thing is told through some amazing musical numbers which, I think, is always a great way to teach people. There's even a parody of the Schoolhouse Rock short "I'm just a Bill."
Creator Kenya Barris wrote on Instagram, "I'm grateful to ABC for choosing to re-air "Hope" and "Juneteenth" tonight, but this is more than one night of television. This is about coming together as a country and as a humankind to say enough is enough."
He then said "Black rights are human rights, and this continued injustice impacts all of us," And concluded by saying, "So, while we hope these episodes can bring your families together in watching and learning, the real hope is that it inspires you to join us in demanding liberty and justice for all — once and for all."
The decision to air these episodes comes on the eve of a letter sent to Disney Cast Members. In the letter, Disney CEO Bob Chapek, Executive Chairman Bob Iger, and Disney’s Chief Diversity Officer Latondra Newton wrote, "We, too, are struggling to make sense of the recent tragedies that leave us feeling overcome with sorrow. While we don’t have all the answers, we resolve to use our compassion, our creative ideas and our collective sense of humanity to ensure we are fostering a culture that acknowledges our people’s feelings and their pain. We also realize that now more than ever is the time for us all to further strengthen our commitment to diversity and inclusion everywhere."
They concluded with, "We intend to focus our efforts and resources to compassionately and constructively talk about these matters openly and honestly as we seek solutions. We intend to keep the conversation going, not just today, but for as long as it takes to bring about real change."
Sometimes, you can't help but feel helpless in these times. Too often do we see these incidents and we really need to be talking to each other and learning from each other. Too often do these conversations get shut down and it's really important to listen. Something has to change in the system. And we need to speak out for what's right. So thank you to ABC and black-ish for being a jumping off point.
If you missed these episodes, you can watch them both on Hulu.