Reading Time: 2 minutes

Black-ish creator Kenya Barris and Netflix have developed an introspective look at being a black and wealthy family navigating daily life in high society. 

You see the struggle to stay rooted in their blackness while not wanting to be a ‘stereotype’. Many critics have noted the lavishness of Kenya Barris and his family’s lifestyle might not be relatable by viewers. However, the show aims to display that being black in America has challenges regardless of wealth. 

The show is filmed from the perspective of Drea Barris, the eldest daughter, played by actress Iman Benson. #BlackAF takes you through the history of African-Americans from slavery to Juneteenth. Many of the episodes explicitly let you know the topic at hand. 

#BlackAF Episode List:

  1. Because of slavery
  2. Because of slavery too
  3. still… because of slavery
  4. Yup, you guessed it. Again, this is because of slavery
  5. Yo, between you and me… this is because of slavery
  6. Hard to believe, but still because of slavery
  7. I know this is going to sound crazy… but this, too, is because of slavery
  8. I know you may not get this, but the reason we deserve a vacation is… because of slavery

The third episode, ‘still… because of slavery’ is the family’s preparation and celebration of Juneteenth. 

Juneteenth commemorates Union army general Gordon Granger announcing federal orders in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, proclaiming that all people held as slaves in Texas were free.

Click here to learn more about Juneteenth

In the episode, Kenya Barris and family go through a series of obstacles. From the boy’s hygiene to youngest daughter, Izzy Barris, played by Scarlet Spencer, being found twerking by mother and wife, Joya Barris, played by Rashida Jones.

However, the most powerful part of the episode is the new painting Kenya Barris bought. It’s a black painting with sparkling, white fragments that are viewable depending on the angle you see the painting. Kenya, which almost has Larry David humor to him, can’t properly explain the meaning of the painting. Wife, Joya Barris, looks at it as a “waste of money”, an expensive one at that. 

Knowledge Bennet Painting Featured on #BlackAF

What does this have to do with Juneteenth? After the trial and tubulations you can expect from a family comedy-sitcom, the painter of the portrait tells Joya exactly what the painting represents. 

As artist Knowledge Bennet explained,

“It’s a painting about spirituality. It’s a painting about the essence of who we are. As black people, there are so many different things; variations of so many different colors. And it’s the sum total of all of these colors, that presents blackness in its purest form; In all of its brilliance, all of its splendor.’

As the family gathered together – you could see why Juneteenth is so important. It’s a family. It’s the beauty of blackness and a country acknowledging its freedom. 

Race relations, discrimination, and racism continue to be an issue in the United States. However, for today, take a moment, grab some viewing snacks, and enjoy the mind-numbing fun of #BlackAF.

Happy Juneteenth.

Author Details
JEM Contributor


‘A state of emergency’: Louisville braces for grand jury decision in Breonna Taylor case

Anticipated Grand Jury Decision on the Breonna Taylor death.

Protestors have assembled in Louisville as they anticipate the grand jury decision regarding the officers involved in...”

Rage - by Bob Woodward will be released on September 15, 2020.

Excerpts from Woodward’s book.

Trump’s COVID-19 comments in the released audio of his interview with Bob Woodward has attracted major attentio...”