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Tracee Ellis Ross on black-ish’s Black History Month Episode with Octavia Spencer

Tracee Ellis Ross on black-ish's Black History Month Episode with Octavia Spencer

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black-ish has by no means shied away from robust, topical conversations, and Thursday’s Black History Month-themed episode opened up a meaningful but humorous dialogue about what it means to have fun the annual vacation.

Tracee Ellis Ross directed the meaty half hour, which noticed Dre (Anthony Anderson) develop into upset that his youngsters have been only learning about the identical handful of necessary figures in black history. Volunteering to deliver a presentation at their faculty, he hoped to teach them on somebody who really exemplified the honorary month. Nevertheless, he shortly discovered himself overwhelmed by the inconceivable activity of choosing the right person who encompassed all of black history.

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Whereas Dre grappled with find out how to greatest honor Black History Month, Ross was tasked with balancing black-ish’s piercing humor with the seriousness the state of affairs calls for, whereas additionally delivering something simply digestible for a mainstream audience.

“My internal conversation was how do we phrase this in a way that allows for the humor to come through but also the depth and importance of these stories without trivializing the month? How do you frame it with comedy in a way that opens people’s minds to a different way of thinking about something,” Ross advised TV Guide.

The episode honed in on Dre’s wrestle, which sparked a nuanced dialogue that noticed three generations of Johnsons supply up various views on who they thought was essential sufficient to be included within the presentation. Andre (Marcus Scribner) pushed for NBA great LeBron James, while Diane (Marsai Martin) nominated her faculty’s principal. In a terrific second of intersectionality, Bo urged her husband to think about a black lady like Michelle Obama while Ruby (Jenifer Lewis), the self-proclaimed mom of all African People, threw her own identify into the combination. By way of this speak, what they all discovered, and what Ross hopes the viewers will take away from this episode, is that celebrating black historical past should not be limited to at least one month out of the yr.

“The point of the episode is really that [black history] is a lifetime of an experience to share in always and at all times. And there are all different kinds of people. There is no way you can choose one person that is an example of everybody,” Ross explained to TV Information. “We are varied in who we are as people, in the experiences that we have, the contributions that we’ve made and the kinds of contributions that we make to our culture as a society.”

The show additionally took an out-of-the-box strategy to both educate and entertain its viewers. Following the format of those “The More You Know” public service bulletins, a intelligent gag featured Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer contextualizing the importance of the well-known names talked about throughout the episode.

“It was like a really old-school device that we used in a new way as sort of an internal conscience,” Ross stated. “I think we all get in a rut about what [Black History Month] means and we lose that flavor of it.”

With using a well-known instructional device and an Oscar winner to help deliver its message, the ABC comedy invited viewers to actually take into consideration how we handle Black History Month and the alternative ways during which we honor black heroes of the previous, present and future. Providing up a recent perspective, the ABC comedy delivered considered one of its strongest installments up to now.

black-ish airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC.

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Saurabh Shah

Saurabh Shah

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