For its Oct. 3 premiere on ABC, the comedy will reportedly pay tribute to the June 19 celebration, Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in America. In the episode, Anthony Anderson’s character, Dre, doesn’t think there are enough black holidays so he recruits singer Aloe Blacc to create a song that will raise awareness about the celebration.
“I’ve seen Hamilton a ton of times,” executive producer and creator Kenya Barris told the Los Angeles Times. “The thing that got me about it is the idea of a historically contextual piece that speaks to what an American story is. That’s what black-ish is. It’s a contemporary piece that speaks to the texture of what America is.”
Barris said the idea for the episode came from a discussion he had with his son. “He was talking to me about [Christopher] Columbus and said, ‘Dad, you know Columbus never actually set foot in North America?’ I looked at him and said, ‘I think you’re mistaken, son.’ I thought he had just read the books wrong,” Barris told the Times. “But I started researching it, and I was blown away. Not only did Columbus not step foot in North America, he wasn’t the person who discovered the world wasn’t flat. His name wasn’t even really Christopher Columbus. All these things we had been told in a false way. Why is it that we have a holiday for this guy? I started thinking about Juneteenth, being an American and acknowledging that slavery happened. There’s never been one person prosecuted for slavery in the history of the country. So we never got a reset button. It was like, ‘OK, it’s over.’ So morally, we understand that slavery was wrong as a country, but there was no criminality put to it.”
Black-ish has tackled a number of social justice issues during its run on ABC, including a much-publicized episode in January that acted as a response to Donald Trump’s presidential win.
“I actually got some conservative responses that were like, ‘I don’t watch your show often but I felt like I had to watch this one. Thank you for trying to show both sides,’” Barris told EW about the January episode.
The fourth season premiere of ABC’s black-ish begins at 9 p.m ET on Oct. 3.1 of 1