Black-ish is a new comedy series starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross that debuted as the number one comedy show recently on ABC. The single-camera comedy centers on an upper-middle-class African-American family who struggles with racial issues as they live in a predominately White community.
While I applaud the show for tackling racial issues, I do have some issues about its portrayal of the Black Family. In the show’s premiere episode, the teenage son is envious of his peers who have Bar Mitzvahs and so his father addresses his son’s issue by giving him a “Bro Mitzvah.” This includes the father and son wearing matching Adidas suits, with Run DMC glasses and gold chains.
What gets me here is that the show is supposed to be breaking racial stereotypes but instead it perpetuates them with the assumption that to be Black means that you’re into Hip Hop and Basketball. Furthermore, what really disturbs me is that in this show and other portrayals of the Black family, there is no mention of God or the central role that the church plays in Black family life. This is troublesome, because it has been the church that has sustained the African American family down through the centuries, and the church is key to keeping our families together and ensuring that our children’s future is bright.
However, this seems to be the norm. Our nation is becoming a cultural wasteland. On another immensely popular TV show, Scandal, the African American star, Olivia Pope has regular “booty calls” (the word used on the show) with the President and another man who is not her husband. I just pray that Ms. Pope’s example is not one that our young people — or seasoned saints for that matter — will follow.
I’m not necessarily saying that we need to bring the Cosby Show back, but what I am saying is that as people of faith we need to carefully decipher our entertainment choices. We must distinguish between what is decent and what is trash, and teach our young people to do the same. We must seek to bless the Lord at all times and to let his praise continually be in our mouths and this includes doing so in our television and other entertainment choices.
Pastor Kip Banks, Sr.