‘Black-ish’ creator discusses shelved episode: ‘It was the most blatantly partisan episode of Black-ish’

‘Black-ish’ creator discusses shelved episode: ‘It was the most blatantly partisan episode of Black-ish’

Kylie Mar

Host & Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

On The Daily Show Thursday night, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris discussed the controversial episode that, until now, had not been allowed to air.

The episode, titled “Please, Baby, Please,” which has finally been released on Hulu, two years after being shelved by ABC, tackles racism in America including the Charlottesville white supremacist rally and kneeling in the NFL in protest against police violence.

“I guess there were creative differences in why it was shelved,” said Barris. “I think that it was a really interesting time in Disney’s, sort of, growth and, at the same time, it was an interesting time in our country’s growth, and it was the most blatantly partisan episode of Black-ish we had ever done.”

Barris continued, “That’s a hard place to be, you know what I am saying, for America’s Broadcasting Corporation. They already let us do a lot of things and I felt like some of the things that we could not agree upon in terms of what should be or what shouldn’t be there, it was not something that I felt like at the time I wanted to compromise on. From the highest levels, you know, Bob Iger understood and really supported where I was coming from but, at the same time, was running a publicly-traded company during a merger and things like that.”

Barris said that, at the time, he was unwilling to put out the episode if it were changed and ABC was unwilling to put it out if it was not changed.

But after the network re-aired two episodes – “Hope” and “Juneteenth” – surrounding racial injustice in June, Barris had a very “honest” conversation with the Chairman of Disney, Bob Iger, in which the two came to an understanding that now is the right time for the shelved episode to see the light of day. 

Barris stated, “He was like, ‘I loved the episode.’ He was like, ‘I think the time is there and I think there is a lot of curiosity as to why it was actually shelved. Instead of us trying to answer it or us trying to talk about it, he was like, ‘I think the time is, like, now to say let people – let’s put it out and let people sort of, on their own, find their answer.'”

While it is sad that the 2018 episode is still so relevant, Barris is elated that this important episode is finally being seen. “I have been really happy with what people have been saying and what people have been seeing, and I feel like it is one of the highlights of, like, my writing career, is to be able to, like, to have something that you felt like was gone, that you are really proud of, to be able to come back and actually during a time when we are actually in all of this stuff, speak to people and start a conversation,” shared Barris.

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah airs weeknights at 11 p.m. on Comedy Central.

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