Black-ish

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Black-ish TV Poster Image
Race is tackled gently in fresh family friendly sitcom.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 18 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Family is front and center, with multiple generations living together (mostly) happily. The focus is on asserting values of family, community, ethnicity, and individuality in positive ways. Race and racism are topics that run throughout and offer opportunities for viewers to gain insight, although somewhat superficially. Compassion, empathy, and integrity are all major themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Anderson is, as he explicitly says, just a man trying to do the best by his family. Characters on-screen make mistakes but are redeemed by caring about others and doing their best to repair damage.

Violence
Sex

There are references to sex, such as a 14-year-old speaking of his longing to "hold a boob" and an image of Kim Kardashian shown on-screen as the official representative of sizable behinds in America.

Language

A few mild curse words. Anderson's Dre Johnson asks, "How the hell did she know that?" of his young daughter. Other rough language includes references to things sucking or people being screwed over.

Consumerism

Dre works at an advertising agency. Real brands, such as Folgers, are mentioned, as are real celebs such as Kim Kardashian.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Black-ish is a sitcom about a father of four who worries that his African-American family is assimilating too much into its wealthy homogenous community. There is very little to worry parents of young children besides a few off-color references to sex and body parts and a few very mild curses. Parents, particularly those who are interested in discussing race in America, will enjoy watching with kids and discussing the many issues the show brings up. The show's goings-on are mild, entertaining, and sitcom-ish, but the political and social commentary it gently provides is extremely valuable.

User Reviews

Adult Written byBigchris September 30, 2014

adorable almost as good as the middle

ok well i watched the preimere of this and I really enjoyed it was a really good show and I laughed alot i think that if they cut down on slightly racist humor... Continue reading
Adult Written bymardoggie2013 November 20, 2014
Teen, 13 years old Written byhermione1226 April 19, 2015

Great Show

Black-ish is a great show, and mostly teen-friendly. Key word: mostly. There was one episode where, um... Andre walked opened the door to his thirteen year-old... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bybratser October 25, 2014

Started Great, Though Became Average Sitcom Material.

Black Ish is more or less your generic family sitcom, now it did not start that way, the first half of the season showed potential in being more than that with... Continue reading

What's the story?

Andre "Dre" Johnson (Anthony Anderson) was born, as he puts it, in "the hood." But though he loves the perks of his high-powered advertising job and living in the mostly white, wealthy enclave they've settled into in Los Angeles, he worries that his surroundings are turning his four kids -- indeed, the entire family -- BLACK-ISH. His son Andre Jr. (Marcus Scribner) wants to be called "Andy," play field hockey instead of basketball, and have a bar mitzvah for a birthday party. His dad, Pops (Laurence Fishburne), mocks the youngest Johnson kids for not knowing Obama is the first black president. His doctor wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), is thrilled that her kids "don't see color." But Dre isn't so sure that's a good thing.

Is it any good?

Cute, funny, and fresh, this sitcom comes on with gentle and predictable sitcom plotlines, but it wraps powerful political and social commentary in its mild jokes. Andre Jr. wants an unexpected type of birthday party; we've seen that before on sitcoms, right? And we've seen the resolution before, too, where Junior takes a leaf from Mom and Dad's book and changes the party just enough to please them. Thus, Andre's birthday "bar mitzvah" becomes "Andre's Hip-Hop Bro Mitzvah," with gold chains and break dancing. It could be offensive in less deft hands, but, given the charm of Black-ish's leads, it all comes off delightfully.

Black-ish brings up many topics that parents who care about race and diversity will want to discuss, but it doesn't rant or hector. It's easy to watch, and parents will want their kids to do so. Perhaps its ultimate charm is that the kids won't mind.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the show's title, Black-ish. What does it mean? Why is the title Black-ish instead of Black? What does the title imply?

  • Black-ish was created by Kenya Barris, a writer known for such series as The Game. He's from Los Angeles and has a wife who's a doctor and who's named Rainbow; the two of them have three kids together. Writers are often instructed to write what they know; has Barris followed this advice?

  • Are the Johnsons wealthy or poor? How can you tell?

  • How do the characters in Black-ish demonstrate compassion, empathy, and integrity? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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