The Principal Reviews

May 1, 2020

#blackAF

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Written for: Communicado Magazine
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Well at least Kenya Barris got away from the -ishes….

#blackAF is the latest venture into the black experience by Kenya Barris. The initial reference to his -ishes defines his current flurry of ethnic television shows: black-ish, grown-ish, mixed-ish. As some of the people say, “write what you know.”

Story: This story really needs no set up or explanation. The title is self explanatory. So does it rise to the occasion? It does…

Kenya Barris delves into so many elements of the black experience… mostly with humor, but some in outrage and some in emotional and intellectual pain. The dialogue is there. The content is there. This is less based loosely on his life than more. He does an excellent job of keeping it real…
Write what you know…

Characters: Kenya Barris plays himself, Rashida Jones plays his wife Joya. They have six kids and a full household staff. The casting is spot on…

Particularly Rashida Jones. She knows of what she speaks on the subject of being biracial. No need to ponder her authenticity. And again a nod to Mr. Barris for keeping it real.

Visual: A lot of the way this show looks is based on living the creative hip-hop lifestyle in Los Angeles. His television kids even give him grief about stereotypically looking the part. Track suits, high tops and gold chains… Kenya Barris is doing the most with his look.

And let’s not forget the visual of the mixed Mom… Hmmm… It does get called out. Watch and listen closely…

Rating: I like his other work – the -ishes. But they have gotten a bit trite. It’s nice to see the effort progress in a slightly different way…

Giving #blackAF an A. It’s quite extra and so entertaining. Let’s see if he can get an Emmy out of this one…

See it on Netflix






 
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