In a culture where the "medium is the message," banning something can create an even stronger message and cause it to gain more attention. In 2018, a season four episode of the sitcom Blackish, was shelved and never aired on ABC.
Shelving The Season Four Episode
The sitcom Black-ish premiered on ABC in 2014 and follows successful man, Dre, played by Anthony Anderson with a great job and a loving family. Black-ish takes us on the journey he goes through, as he questions his success as he thinks about being a black man and what ethnic identity means to him.
Just days before the season four episode "Please, Baby, Please" was supposed to air on ABC, producer Kenya Barris decided to shelf the episode indefinitely. The episode was supposed to be released in February of 2018, coming after President Trump's election in 2016, a time when ABC was open about catering to Trump voters. The episode, however, touches on the situations our society was facing in 2018, such as mass shootings in America, climate change, and athletes kneeling during the national anthem, as a different topic plagued the mind of each Johnson family member.
'Please, Baby, Please' A Children's Book
The title, "Please, Baby, Please" comes from the name of the book that Dre reads to his son in the episode. The book is actually a children's book written by film director Spike Lee and his wife, Tonya Lewis Lee. Lee is actually heard in the episode, as he recorded a voice-over for it, contributing to the value of this particular episode alone. Along with Spike Lee's cameo, production has reportedly spent a pretty penny on the rights to songs used in the episode and even an illustrator. Shelving an episode is not an easy decision.
Releasing the Episode
After shelving the episode for two years, producer Kenya Barris has just come out with a statement, expressing how the episode would be beneficial in today's society. Barris wants to encourage conversation among families about how we can better the world, or more specifically, the country that we live in.
The Black-ish series, including the season four episode "Please Baby Please" can be streamed on Hulu.
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