A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Messages of examining history and its connection to behavioral patterns that are in operation in different demographics in the present day, as well as offers a positive social commentary on how racial and social constructs psychologically affect everyone in differing ways. A married couple, though flawed, depict what is it to love unconditionally. Seeing privileged black people who live full and engaged lives lends a positive counter-stereotype to what is often seen in media.
Positive Role Models
A black male father figure, Kenya, is present and an active influence in the lives of his six children. He provides -- even if in overabundance to a fault at times. A studious 18-year old high school senior, Drea, is socially and emotionally mature, focused on getting into a good college, and showcases having a diplomatic mindset. A wealthy mom, Joya, is not a "helicopter" parent, but on the contrary gives her children space to express their individuality, yet throughout it's not quite evident if she's much of a role model.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some sexual innuendo. In one scene, a mom and wife is seen hurling obscenities and threatening to sleep with someone else if her husband does not buy a really expensive, custom sports car. Discussion of a man pulling his "d--k" out at a Writer's Guild party. There's talk of penis size.
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There's some serious adult language throughout. Both adults and children use swear words as a social and family norm. Statements such as: "You ungrateful little s--t," "bulls--t," "darkie," "coon," "f--k," "rap monkey," a--hole," "THOT," and "d--k" are used. Parents swear at their children, and children swear at their parents.
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Products & Purchases
Consumerism is a major theme throughout the entire series. There's talk of private jets, extremely expensive cars, valet, major designer labels, exclusive locations, brunch at The Four Seasons as a weekly social and family norm, a heightened preoccupation with wealth and perceptions of wealth. A husband, wife and kids are privileged, and at times are obnoxious about it. The Barris children are extremely privileged, and they know it. The parents of the Barris household often struggle with setting financial boundaries, and often indulge their children.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There's some adult social drinking and drug use, as well as talk of adults getting drunk at parties and events. There's talk of drinking without regard for consequences. A mom gets high off of molly.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that #BlackAF is an original comedy series directed by Kenya Barris (Shaft, Girl's Trip, Little) and centers on a newly wealthy black family, and how they are coping with newly navigating the world with privilege. It stars both Kenya Barris, creator of shows like Black-ish and Mixed-ish, and Rashida Jones (Spies in Disguise, Klaus). The adults of the Barris household embrace modern parenting, and don't necessarily strive to be the "perfect" family. Parents are open about their flaws, and unapologetically and unabashedly embrace being both black and rich. There's strong adult language. This series is intended for older teenagers and mature audiences. Language such as "s--t," "f--k," "darkie," "coon," "rap monkey," a--hole, "THOT," and "d--k" is used. There's sexual innuendo, and talk of penis size is discussed among adults. Some negative stereotypes are depicted. Themes of open communication between adults and children, real-world issues and conversations, and topics around race are not sugar-coated. Families who watch with teens should be prepared for very frank discussions about issues and realities concerning race. While Barris has created successful shows such as Black-ish, Grown-ish and Mixed-ish, #BlackAF doesn't quite stack up.
Is It Any Good?
This comedy series does a good job of light-heartedly tackling weightier issues such as: the 'white gaze,' the isolation that wealthy, black kids often feel at predominantly white private schools, and the balancing act that many feel the need to play as they socially climb and more. One of the most powerful themes of #BlackAF is the clever depiction of what Dr. Cornel West and author Toni Morrison have coined as "paraphernalia of suffering," which is essentially the over-consumption of material things such as cars, homes, and clothing as a means to compensate for generations of emotional and psychological trauma by an oppressive society. The concept of obtaining "new money" is comically depicted with valuable urgency. Parents are depicted as being open about their flaws, and lessons are learned about racial and social thought patterns.
While the frequent strong language can be distracting, #BlackAF addresses a serious question that many people of color around the world--especially black people, still grapple with today. "How do you get accepted or navigate in an environment where you are now forced to live with the same people who for 400 years have oppressed you?" The humorous depiction of the "white gaze" is effective. However, many of the tropes depicted are predictable. The images of enslaved people working on cotton plantations, the historical mini-lessons on "peacocking" and "Sunday Best" are enough to keep viewers intrigued even if the messages are redundant. Reference to racial epithets that have a historically negative connotation such as "darkie" and "coon" provide a great opportunity to revisit this part of history with teenagers and even adults.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.