My plan was to post my reaction to “Black-ish” the night of its premier…and then life happened. But here I am ready to share! 😀
What initially put this TV series on my radar was the controversy surrounding its title. Some thought it was clever, others were offended. But only those who have experienced the burden of constant code switching would understand this title and appreciate this series. After watching the preview and twatching black twitter for a few weeks, my anticipation for “Black-ish” was almost too much to bear once Sept. 24th rolled around.
Right off the bat, I connected with “Black-ish,” especially its comments on the black experience in corporate America. Andre, played by Anthony Anderson, is a black man working in an advertising agency. And although he isn’t the only black guy at the agency, the show makes it a point to show how often times lower management is diverse, upper management not so much. When this point was made, I immediately flashed back to the time I was applying to a diversity fellowship at a PR agency last spring. Although there was an emphasis on increasing diversity at the company I was applying to, upper management did not reflect this effort.
Flash back to Black-ish. Andre is promoted to senior vice president (SVP) of the urban division at his agency, but Andre isn’t happy. He feels he is chosen as urban division SVP simply because he is black. Tracee Ellis Ross, who plays Andre’s wife, attempts to rationalize with Andre, saying he would be mad if they chose a white person instead. I found this scene to be extremely relatable. As a black student at a predominately white institution (PWI), I often encountered the argument that I did not get into UNC on my own merits, but because I met the school’s minority quota. And in the corporate world, I question am I here because of my work or because of my skin color…or both?
The last point about the black experience in corporate America that stood out to me in the “Black-ish” pilot was choosing to work at a white-owned company vs. a black-owned company. Andre chose to work at a white-owned company because it paid more even though he could have climbed the corporate ladder quicker at a black owned company.
Currently, I work at a black-owned Ad Agency in Greensboro, NC called Black Network Television (BNT). I chose to work at BNT because I knew I would have the opportunity to wear a lot of hats and would be able to clearly see how my contributions were helping the company grow. I think the biggest difference for me when I make the move to white corporate America is going from blending in, to sticking out…way out.
Overall, the Black-ish pilot gets two thumbs up from me. I found the issues raised in “Black-ish” to be extremely relevant, and I can’t wait to watch the characters develop throughout the season. For all of those upset over the title, give the show a chance, and you will quickly discover the deeper meaning behind its seemingly shallow title.