ABC Pulls “Black-ish” National Anthem Protest Episode

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You win some, you lose some! We found out yesterday that Marvel’s African themed film Black Panther has grossed $1 billion dollars and is on pace to become one of the biggest superhero films in history. However, on the other side of the Disney family, ABC is facing criticism over pulling an episode of the hit show Black-ish. The episode delved into the National Anthem protests sparked by Colin Kaepernick in late 2016. According to reports, the episode was pulled due to “creative differences”.

“One of the things that has always made ‘Black-ish’ so special is how it deftly examines delicate social issues in a way that simultaneously entertains and educates,” an ABC spokesperson told Variety Friday. “However, on this episode there were creative differences we were unable to resolve.”

The episode was entitled “Please, Baby, Please” and it featured Andre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) trying to find a way to soothe his infant son Devante during a thunderstorm. Dre tries to read him a bedtime story but it still doesn’t work in stopping him from crying, leading Dre to improvise a story that chronicles his fears about the state of the country. During the episode, Andre and Junior go at it over athletes rights to kneel during the national anthem. This storyline was, most certainly, the reason why ABC decided not to air the episode.

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Kenya Barris said to Variety, “Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it. ‘Black-ish’ is a show that has spoken to all different types of people and brought them closer as a community and I’m so proud of the series.”

If you remember, The Boondocks had two episodes pulled from distribution on TV in it’s second season. In the episodes “The Hunger Strike” and “The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show”, show creator Aaron McGruder and his writers went hard at BET and then executives Debora Lee and Reggie Hudlin. BET threatened to file litigation against Tuner Network Broadcasting and they pulled the episodes from regular airing on Adult Swim. The Season 2 DVD came out in 2008 and featured the uncut episodes in their entirety and even added commentary from McGruder and the show creators.

All I want to say is this: is it possible that we can have that happen with “Please, Baby, Please”. It’s a shame that we can now add this episode to the lost media database. It being pulled from air makes me want to watch it more now, normally how human nature works. Let’s hope that fan outrage and press can push them to maybe put the episode up on Amazon or something!

Source

  1. https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/03/blackish-episode-kneeling-athletes-shelved
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