7 Times Black-ish Taught Us About Social Movements

From colorism to COVID-19, Black-ish, starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, has addressed many social issues throughout its eight seasons.

By Jillian Fabiano Feb 16, 2022 12:00 AMTags
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Black-ish may soon be coming to an end, but it's lasting impact certainly won't be.

The ABC comedyknown for addressing social issues in a humorous and easily digestible way—is currently airing its eighth and final season. The critically acclaimed series, starring Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Yara Shahidi, has touched on numerous topics including colorism, COVID-19, feminism and much more. 

In an interview with Columbus Telegram, Ross shared that she is happy about the impact Black-ish has had. "There's a never-ending amount of topics for us to discuss that are part of the wallpaper of our lives," she explained. "We did that incredibly beautifully, from Juneteenth to police brutality to postpartum depression. We leave with a whole bunch of joy and pride about how we handled everything."

And Anderson agrees. In an interview with Good Morning America, the actor discussed the immense impact that episode had on the country. "I like to think we had a small part in making that happen," the 51-year-old actor said of President Joe Biden making Juneteenth a national holiday back in 2021.

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From feminism to Juneteenth, scroll to see how Black-ish taught us about social movements.


In "Feminisnt," after learning that Diane (Marsai Martin) and Dre's mother Ruby (Jenifer Lewis) didn't believe in feminism, Bow brings Diane to her feminism group to teach her what it actually is.

With the help of her friends, aka former Girlfriends co-stars, Golden Brooks, Jill Marie Jones and Persia White, Bow discusses the complexities of intersectional feminism, and specifically white feminism blind spots.

Postpartum Depression

After giving birth to her son, Bow was having difficulties connecting with him. Though she was in denial and was embarrassed, she came to the realization that she had postpartum depression. 

The episode made it clear that it is nothing to be ashamed of, and that it's a chemical imbalance rather than a weakness.

Police Brutality

In the season two episode titled "Hope," the Johnson parents teach their children about police brutality while watching a fake indictment case. The pair have differing views on how to address the topic with Jack and Diane. 

"They are not just children, they are Black children and they need to know the world they are living in," Dre says in the episode.

"I just want to give them a little faith in the world," Bow adds. "Help them hold on to their innocence and be kids a little while longer."

The Presidential Election

In an election special, the Johnson family teaches Black-ish viewers about the history of voting and voting suppression.

At the end of the episode, Junior—who is now legally able to vote—feels defeated. But Dre reassures him that he has to vote.

"The machine was built to keep us out, but the only time that things changed in this country was when people did whatever it takes to make their voices count," Dre says to Junior.

"You have to vote, son," he continues later in the episode. "I know it may sound hopeless but that's what they want you to believe to keep you from participating. But the ballot is the best weapon we have."


After Diane gets her school photos back from picture day, Bow and Dre realize that the lighting the school used was not conductive to photographing dark skin—resulting in Diane looking like a shadow in the pictures. 

This incident incited an important conversation regarding colorism, and the stereotypes that come along with being light-skin vs. dark-skin.


In "Juneteenth," one of the most iconic Black-ish episodes, an 1865 version of the Johnson family celebrates June 19th, which is the day slaves were told they were freed in the United States.



In "Hero Pizza," Black-ish addressed the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the difficulties first responders face. 

In the beginning of the episode, Bow's family praises her for the work she does, but over time, they begin to lose interest. 

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