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Last week I watched Kenya Barris’s new show #blackAF. For anyone who doesn’t know who Kenya Barris is, he is the creator of shows such as Black-ish, Grown-ish, and Mixed-ish. 

Black-ish is based on Kenya Barris’s own family of himself, his wife, and their six kids (in the show the parents Andre and Rainbow have four kids in the beginning). It deals with the life of a well-off black family in America, with two successful breadwinners. Andre works in Advertising while Rainbow is an Anesthesiologist. The show is endearing and portrays cute and crazy family dynamics, with fairly interesting storylines. 

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Grown-ish follows the life of Zoey played by the phenomenal Yara Shahidi, Andre and Rainbow’s eldest daughter, and her life in college. How she deals with boys, drugs, alcohol, her passion for fashion, and friendships. The show is fresh and upbeat but also manages to make the audience think, in certain aspects of the plot. 

Mixed-ish follows the interesting life of Rainbow who had a far from normal childhood. 

What is black AF all about?

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Well it is about, yes, once again Kenya’s family and this time actually stars Kenya Barris. This story is set in a documentary style as it is said to be their eldest daughter’s portfolio for admission into film school.

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#blackAF Honest Review

I was super excited to watch this show because I have been a fan of Kenya Barris’s previous work, especially Grown-ish. 

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Kenya Barris plays a rich, self-absorbed father who has given his family the best of everything but feels underappreciated. His wife Joya is played by Rashida Jones, who plays a former lawyer who gave up her career to take care of her six kids. 

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Drea Barris, their second daughter is filming a documentary to help her get into film school, and she is responsible for the show that we get to see. She has an older sister, a younger sister and three younger brothers. 

The show is heavily rooted in black history, which is completely compromised by the flashy lifestyle the family flaunts. 

Now I know people are going to come after me for saying that. I would like to clarify that I do not mean that they can’t be well-off and talk about black history. I just felt the story didn’t give the history neither the problems faced by the family it’s due diligence.

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The show highlights an important aspect of black history and its impact on current African Americans. 

It talked about the ‘white gaze’, which black people face when people often assume that they are supposed to be flashy or always wonder how the family got so rich without having a rapper or a sportsperson. The show talked about how literally everything they go through to this day is related to slavery and how they are still awaiting reparations. 

But the most important aspect they touched upon was the adultification of black women, and how they are seen as more mature than girls from other races of the same age. And how they are constantly made to dress or act in a different way or put in a different box when compared to their white counterparts. 

I also loved Rashida Jones on the show. And I would definitely say she is the saving grace. 

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Now that’s pretty much all the good things I have to say about the show. 

Unfortunately, Kenya Barris, comes off as a one-trick pony, because elements of his tumultuous marriage and heavy fights have already been carried out in Black-ish. The angle of unbothered kids and rich parents has also been tackled in Black-ish.

Although the show had the potential to recreate Modern Family’s initial mockumentary style, it did not fully achieve it. 

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And I do understand it is a documentary, and not all real-documentaries will have thrilling stories, but they do manage to give us a peek into someone else’s life in a way that makes us feel closer to them, understand their troubles and wishes. 

Even though the style of the show gave them every opportunity to do that, the writing just lacked Barris’s classic style of endearment and humor.

Maybe he was going for something totally offbeat, but it just came off ill-written, obtuse, and did not have me looking forward to seeing any more of this show.

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