‘Black-ish’ to Take on Police Brutality (EXCLUSIVE)

'Black-ish' will take on Police Brutality
Courtesy ABC

The Feb. 24 episode of “Black-ish will take on police brutality, Variety has learned.

The episode, titled “Hope,” will revolve around a fictional incident of police brutality that Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) and Andre “Dre” Johnson (Anthony Anderson) discuss with family members, including the couple’s four children. Much of the episode will focus on various characters’ reactions as they watch a news broadcast about the case, which involves an African-American teenager’s encounter with police.

As was the case when the family talked about the issue of guns in the home, members of the Johnson clan do not necessarily see eye-to-eye about what the kids should know and when they should know it. Rainbow would like to shield the kids, especially the younger ones, from life’s harsher realities as long as she can, while Andre feels that they need to know about the challenges of the world they’re living in as soon as is practical. Pops (Laurence Fishburne) and Ruby (Jenifer Lewis) tend to side with Dre, but the conversations are wide-ranging and impassioned on all sides.

“Unfortunately the things that we are dealing with in this episode are not new, especially to the black and brown community. It’s something that’s been going on for quite some time,” Anderson told Variety

Creator and executive producer Kenya Barris said the desire to take on the issue came from his own attempts to talk to his kids about various incidents of police brutality that made the news.

“We’re not ‘Law & Order’ — we’re not trying to rip things from the headlines,” Barris said. Bow and Dre talking to their kids about what they see on the news “is what this family would naturally be going through.”

“What we’re really taking on is the notion of, how do you talk to your kids about what they’re seeing?’” Barris added. His own kids “were seeing people in the streets mad. And they were like, ‘What’s going on? Why are these people so angry?’ It was this big division at my house, because I had my feelings that I wanted to spout out. But my wife had her feelings and the biggest thing is, how do you talk about your frustrations and your angers, but at the same time not take away your kids’ hope and ability to still want to grow and thrive within a world that they have to live in?”

“I commend Kenya for writing this episode and giving a voice to this problem and to bring some attention to it, outside the attention that it’s getting in the media and social media,” Anderson said.

As evidenced when the show took on guns in the home and “The N Word,” “Black-ish” will remain true to its mission to be funny, but Barris and Anderson said they’d wanted to take on the topic of police brutality for some time, even though, as Barris noted, the idea of doing this episode was “scary.”

“I’m a huge fan of Norman Lear, and I really wanted to just do a conversation,” Barris said. “We decided to just see what happens when you turn on that television, and you have to have that conversation that you’re not ready to have, and there’s a lot of different opinions in the room and no one’s quite sure of how to talk to the kids. We just went from there.”

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  1. I’ve been taken into custody NINE times… I’ve resisted and got hurt. I figured out to be compliant. Guess what? I was never hurt again … It’s not Rocketry America!!

    We all just need to accept the fact that we have some VERY violent AND deceptive criminals and the police have to act accordingly – otherwise the violent criminals would kill them all, and then where would we be? Think about a world without police …

    The press isn’t appropriately reporting all of the officers who have been wounded and killed recently.

    If you want to know what your life would be like without police (for the left AND right morons) … it’s easy!!

    All over the world, there are places without police. You can live your dreams all you lefty and righty jerks who are destroying this country. GO AWAY >>>>> JUST GO….You will have ALL your dreams fulfilled … pick a country … Just not this one, it obviously doesn’t suit you.

  2. boogabooga says:

    How about send them back to Africa

  3. Lucifer says:

    A person with a sane mind would tell their kids: Don’t commit any crimes, listen to the police if they are just asking you questions, don’t become defensive and violent with the police, and if you feel your rights were violated then you have every right to file a complaint. But we sadly have too many idiotic people believing most of the cases of black people killed or hurt by police are simply due to them being black. This then creates an environment where black people believe they are being targeted for being black, and therefore tell their children the same which creates deep-seeded resentment. The fact is there is not a rise of these types of cases, but just the frequency of reporting them because the media can only function when the public is scared, same with politicians – they live off of fear and tragedy. And we live in a very reactionary time where people automatically have a set narrative for something and refuse to change it, even after mountains of evidence comes out that debunks their viewpoint. The case that was the final straw for the majority of blacks in America (Ferguson) turned out to be almost entirely mislead to the public and even after Eric Holder promised justice for Brown, the evidence all pointed to Brown being the attacker in the altercation along with all the claims from his friends being lies.

  4. Teresa Sadorus says:

    I commend them for taking on the subject and will certainly be watching to see how it is handled. This is one of my favorite comedies.

  5. BECAUSE WHITE AMERICA CONTROL THIS COUNTRY IT IS WHITE AMERICA AT FAULT
    RACIST NUMBER ONE PROBLEM 400 YEARS IS A LONG TIME TO HAVE A PEOPLE SUFFER
    THE CONSTITUTION MEANS NOTHING FOR FAIR PLAY
    AMERICA WILL DESTROY ITSELF BUT FOR WHATBLACK ON BLACK CRIME IS THE RESULTS OF THE PRESSURES IMPOSE ON BLACK COMMUNITIES THE SAMEALL OVER AMERICA
    BLACK FOLKS HONOR AND RESPECT AMERICA BUT THERE IS NO RETURN FOR THEIR INVESTMENT
    WHAT IS EVERY BODY THAT COME TO THIS COUNTRY PASS US UP
    WE STILL HEAR ‘WE STILL HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO’
    OTHERS SEEM TO KNOW WHERE THE LONG WAY TO GO IS
    WAKE UP AMERICA BECAUSE THE PROTECTION OF JESUSE AND THE CHRISTIANTIME IS UP
    LASTING 2000 YEARS
    THE MIDDLE EAST WANTS IT COUNTRY ANS ASSETS BACK
    AMERICAIS ON BORROWED TIME
    EVERY BODY SHOULD HAVE GUNS TO PRROTECT THEM SELVES BUT WHEN BLACK FOLKS GET GUNS THEY ARE THE ENEMIES MORE WHITE HAVE GUNS THAN BLACKS FOLKS
    WAITING TO KILL BLACK FOLKS WAKE UP AMERICA TIME IS RUNNING OUT

    SETTLE IT BEFORE THE MAN COMES FROM THE EAST NOT THE WEST

  6. John Miller says:

    How about they take on the plague of black-on-black crime, or the issues of African-American children who go hungry, or who don’t have access to a good education? Instead, the show is going for the issue that is going to draw the activists to their show.

    • Ashley K. says:

      Why is AA children going hungry an AA issue? That’s an American issue, just like any other child in this country who goes hungry. Police violence on unarmed black people is an AA issue. Violence from those who pledge to serve and protect the community is a bigger issue than “Black-on-black” crime for the fictional characters in this show, given they are in a well off neighborhood and would not likely come into contact with gang or other such issues (which i’m sure is what you’re referring to). However, as the color of their skin will always be an issue when confronted by the wrong officers, this is an issue that this family and others should discuss. Just because it makes you more comfortable to see black people talk about issues of race does not mean it shouldn’t be done. Don’t watch.

  7. Chan says:

    So what? Big surprise.

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