Black-ish returned on a new night for its fourth season premiere, delivering an episode that could easily go down as one of the best to go down in the modern era of television. Not only did it deal with a meaningful issue in light of the Columbus Day holiday on Monday, but it did so in the most creative way possible. The show cemented its status of being the modern equivalent to Sanford And Son, Good Times, and The Jeffersons, mixing comedy with topics that you’re not going to see covered on your typical sitcom.
The episode begins with a Columbus Day play featuring the Johnson kids and several other minority kids that have been bused in by the school to avoid “an incident.” This doesn’t work, but it shines light on the real topic of the episode: Juneteenth or the June 19, 1865 end of slavery in Texas and the emancipation of former slaves in the Confederacy. It’s an official holiday in 45 states according to the wiki, but it is quite possible you haven’t heard about it. That’s where Black-ish comes in with their episode.
It comes complete with the Schoolhouse Rock-like video above featuring The Roots giving a crash-course lesson in the African slave trade, slaves in the Southern United States, and how slavery was officially ended. It’s one of many musical numbers throughout the episode that are worth your time to seek out, including the short Columbus bit from the start of the show that immediately gets the audience into “woke” mode.
The episode garnered some fantastic reactions online, with a few famous names chiming in with some praise:
In light of the discussion the nation has been having over the past year, Black-ish has become a very important part of the ABC primetime lineup that introduces audiences to topics they normally wouldn’t see on a sitcom. Where Modern Family aims to keep itself in neutral waters, Black-ish doesn’t seem to hesitate to hit on important cultural moments or current events.
The season premiere even makes it a point to save its most important message for the very end of the episode.