Is Another “black-ish” Spin-off Really Necessary?
ABC has released the trailer for Kenya Barris’s latest black-ish spin-off, mixed-ish. The announcement comes not long after JARO Magazine’s writer MJ VanDevere spoke about the problematic elements of black-ish in her critical editorial.
The first spin-off, grown-ish, is still in its early stages–so it’s rather surprising that yet another one is on its way. mixed-ish follows the life of Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), and her experiences growing up in a mixed race household. In the trailer, the year is 1985 and Rainbow is the new kid in middle school. Of course, middle school is naturally a place of ruthless bullying, but Rainbow and her siblings appear to be targets due to their ambiguous racial identity.
Now, based on the trailer, the show doesn’t look awful. In fact, it may even be an enjoyable watch. However, the problem lies in the fact that the family in black-ish is already “mixed-ish,” and we’ve seen Bow’s experiences as a mixed race parent sprinkled throughout the show. We’ve briefly gotten to know Bow’s parents in a few episodes, and learned more about her roots. Why not just expand on these storylines that have already been introduced in black-ish? Because while I agree that the biracial experience is an incredibly necessary topic, black-ish is already the perfect platform to further discuss what it means to be biracial. For instance, the episode on colorism opened the door for crucial conversations, which was relevant for all shades of blackness–and mixed raced persons fall under this category.
On the contrary, I can’t argue with Tracee Ellis Ross having her own show, because she’s quite the character. The rest of the cast, too, is rather intriguing. And while I would like to know more about her childhood, I’m not fully convinced that this concept needs an entire new series as opposed to simply being further incorporated into black-ish. We’ll see how it goes.