Barris stated that he was "very, very emotional" when he saw the honor. Barris returned to Smithsonian earlier this month to give a big salute to "blackish" at the Smithsonian museum's eight-season end.
It was surreal. As a brand, the Smithsonian is tied to things that last, that are part and parcel of the core DNA that makes up this world. He said that it meant a lot to him to put our show in that.
Sitcoms, particularly family-centric ones are more likely than museums to be ingrained in viewers' minds. The popularity of shows like "The Brady Bunch," the "Good Times", and "Full House" was a part of viewers' growing up. The characters and the shows were loved well beyond their original run.
Talk to fans of "black-ish" and you will find the same for the series' half-hour finale on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET (midnight EDT on Hulu), then ABC News' "blackish: A Celebration" on ABC. This series was a rare network TV show: It featured a close-knit, wealthy family of color, The Johnsons. Black creators helped shape their stories.
"I can remember the first time it came out, I was worried that it would be either serious, off-putting or really sad, and it did," said Onaje Harper. The show draws on stereotype characters that may or not exist in real life. He became a binge-viewer after the pandemic, and he swat away any online slander that the show wasn't "real."
"It's not real to them, but this is my everyday," said Harper, an educator-turned-businessman in Dallas who is the grandson and son of Black professionals. Harper recalls feeling the exact same about his criticism of "The Cosby Show", a 20th century TV portrayal of a wealthy African American family.
"Black-ish" is a more complex view of race. It starts with the title, which reflects Andre "Dre' Johnson's concern that his children might be separated from their ethnicity by affluence. Harper stated that it also offers a more incisive view on race relations.
Harper cited an episode where Dr. Rainbow Johnson (played by Tracee Ellis) is being supportive and volunteering for a private school fundraiser. Harper recalls that one of the white parents offered her assistance, which Harper then interpreted as code for "I think your going to fail" and "I'm over your head."
Harper stated, "I was a laughing wreck, because my daughter's parents are incredible, but we often leave that school thinking, 'Oh my goodness, I hope my daughter loves it at least.'"
Jerry McCormick was raised watching Bob Newhart's sitcoms in the 1970s, 1980s, and "Good Times", among other things. "Black-ish" was compared to another comedy at the time.
McCormick, a San Diego journalist and communications instructor, said that he has never seen affluent Black people on television, aside from 'The Jeffersons. "I was raised in South Carolina, and it helped me to have it on because it felt aspirational."
Dre sees "black-ish" as being akin to the grandchild of "The Jeffersons" and the child from "The Cosby Show." They are the parents of their children. They manage the house. They aren't overtaking the children."
Ladinia Brown is a New York City fraud detective. She said that she loves the "reality of it." It's funny because so much of it is true." She mentioned a favorite episode about colorism, which is discrimination in an ethnic group against people with darker skin.
She said, "That resonated for me because my children are like different colors in the rainbow, all different complexions and the same with my family." "I understood how they addressed the different treatment of African Americans."
Emily Johnson, 19, welcomed the show's treatment of major and minor issues that are part of Black culture but are often ignored. A teen is unsure whether she should keep her hair straightened or go natural.
Johnson stated that Johnson used to hate his hair when he was younger. He felt it was difficult to manage and didn't like how it looked. "But I grew to appreciate my hair and I enjoyed the episode when they talked about all the amazing things Black hair can do."
"Black-ish" became a platform for nuanced, sobering chapters about racism, police brutality, and, in a 2018 episode, the effect of Donald Trump's presidency. The episode was canceled by ABC and released on Hulu two years later. ).
It is important to tell stories about something and stories that make a point. It was what television used to be about, Barris stated. It could have been dad's moral sermons in Leave It to Beaver or the social satires of Norman Lear's "All in the Family", and "Maude."
Although "black-ish" tackled difficult issues, it didn't lose the humor in its 170 episodes. Courtney Lilly, who was a writer on the series from its first season and later became its executive producer and showrunner, stated that the show never lost its laughs.
"Obviously there were episodes in which we tried to address issues. Lilly stated that even though we did those, they were still relevant and humorous.
Although the series won a prestigious Peabody Award, and other awards, including multiple NAACP Image Awards (for Anderson, Ross, Deon, and Marsai Martin), top Emmys remain out of reach.
Barris answers questions about the legacy of the show by pointing out its emphasis on people who are invisible in the world, regardless of their ethnicity and the ways that 'black-ish tried to break down divisions.
"It is often considered rude to discuss certain subjects that make people uncomfortable. He said that they did this in their own homes. "I believe it made people feel closer to people that they might not have been before."