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Kenya Barris created the ABC sitcom Black-ish, which follows Andre and Rainbow Johnson, a well-to-do black couple trying to raise four kids in a predominately white Southern California neighborhood, while still holding onto their cultural identity. Anthony Anderson plays Andre Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross plays Dr. Rainbow Johnson, Bo for short.

In its second season, Black-ish has taken on some serious topics, including gun control and the issue of who, if anyone, is allowed to say the n-word.

Perhaps none was as well received by critics as a recent episode on the issue of police brutality against black Americans -- and the struggle of how to explain to children the violence and injustice that they're seeing on TV news.

The entire episode takes place in the Johnson's living room, with the family gathered around the television. Three generations wait to hear whether a police officer who grievously injured a black teen will be prosecuted.

Filming the Black-ish episode "Hope"
Laurence Fishburne, Tracee Ellis Ross, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, Marsai Martin,
Anthony Anderson, Jenifer Lewis, Yara Shahidi
Photo: ABC/Patrick Wymore

Barris tells us why writing this recent episode felt "incredibly scary." Now that it's aired, he's gotten nothing but supportive and positive feedback from the network.

We reached Barris on the set of Black-ish, as he took a break from directing an episode for the first time.




Kim Masters


Kaitlin Parker