ABC rebroadcasted two groundbreaking episodes of Black-ish in observance of #BlackoutTuesday, an initiative urging members of the entertainment industry and beyond to pause and reflect on how to better support the black community.
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Showrunner Kenya Barris announced Tuesday on Instagram that ABC will air reruns of "Hope," a second-season episode addressing police brutality, and "Juneteenth," the season four premiere commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
Barris goes on to explain the inspiration behind the episodes:
"It's been more than 4 years since we made 'Hope.' An episode that was inspired by conversations I was having with my own children about the countless examples of systemic oppression happening around them."
"It's been 1,562 days since we first shared that episode with the world, and it breaks my heart on so many levels that this episode feels just as timely as it did then and eerily prescient to what's happening to black people in this country today."
Behind The Episodes
The episode "Hope" centers on the Johnson family's reactions to a court case involving an African American teenager who was allegedly the victim of police violence. When the kids start asking questions about it, Dre (Anthony Anderson) and Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) are at odds over how to address them: Dre and his parents (played by Laurence Fishburne and Jenifer Lewis) want to offer an unvarnished look at how the legal system has treated black people, while Bow opts for a more hopeful message about what could be.
When "Hope" aired in February 2016, Barris expressed his feelings on the episode in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, saying:
"I just hope that it's received well and I hope that it actually starts a conversation, because I think that it's a conversation we need to have."
The Impact Among Viewers
The episode is timely, as many are calling for an end to police brutality and protesting after the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died after a police officer held him down by the neck with his knee.
And while Barris is grateful to ABC for re-airing "Hope," as well as its "Juneteenth" episode, he adds:
"This is about coming together as a country and as a humankind to say enough is enough...Black rights are human rights, and this continued injustice impacts all of us. So while we hope these episodes can bring your families together in watching and learning, the real hope is that it inspires you to join us in demanding liberty and justice for all - once and for all."