It was announced that Ryan Destiny, a previous star of Star, is making a transition to Freeform’s Grown-ish for season three and it’s sparking all the talk in the young collegiate universe. First of all, let me commend this casting because it is beyond dope that a chocolate girl is being added to the roster. I have a vision of what next season might look like with her character “Jillian” included as a regular and honestly, I’m liking what I see. Destiny even tweeted about her excitement of being added to the Grown-ish crew in hopes of being a good addition and based on her personality via social media and her career thus far, I’m sure she will be.
Despite how fit for the role she may seem off-screen, we have yet to meet Jillian at Cal U. However, viewers of the show were able to receive some insight on what she’s all about and this is where it gets interesting. In the official description, we are informed that Jillian is an HBCU transfer studying filmmaking. Now, wait a minute. If your initial reaction after reading that was anything like mine, we *clap* are *clap* puzzled *clap*.
Why would sis be leaving such an institution? What didn’t she get from that HBCU that she expects to get from Cal U? Okay okay, we’re getting in our feelings. HBCUs aren’t for everyone and she could have transferred for a bunch of different reasons. These kinds of transfers happen all the time but for real though. We can’t help but to wonder how this will play out and potentially be a part of Jillian’s background story.
While discussing with family and other grown-ish viewers, something interesting was brought to the surface so let’s talk about it. Some feel like the HBCU “Jillian” should be a transfer from is Clark Atlanta University since it is Kenya Barris’ (program creator) alma mater. They feel like paying homage to Clark would be pretty cool and maybe even necessary. I’ll tell you why shortly.
While I adore CAU and would love for Panthers to be recognized on such a popular show, I’m not sure I would like the idea of Ryan Destiny’s character transferring from there with an interest in filmmaking. Considering the fact that Clark is known to have some of the most exceptional programs in all things mass media arts, this would confuse me. Official statements about Jillian’s role also tells us that she’s “smart, worldly, and cultured, Jillian can talk art and music with Luca, politics and activism with Aaron, and also fits right in with Zoey and her eclectic crew of girls.” She seems to be pretty well-rounded; I just feel like Atlanta would have been the perfect scene for her and all her ambitions but perhaps that’s the biased Atlanta-native in me.
Other HBCU advocates have suggested that she come from Spelman. This is the part where I explain why a Clark transfer would be cool (and where some conflicts arise.) Being that Barris and his wife, Dr. Rainbow Edwards-Barris, both graduated from Clark and donated $1 Million to the school about a year ago, it’s clear that they are awesome examples of successful, black people with careers who are passionate about their HBCU experiences at Clark; enough to give back. So if you’re our voice, Barris, why on earth would Jillian come from Spelman? I guess some Clark alum and students feel indifferent about the possibility because there are so many representations for the AUC that don’t highlight the reality that amazing and successful people, specifically women, come from Clark too.
I grew up around Clark attendees, now alumni, and one of them told me that Jillian doesn’t even have to come from the AUC at all. “Although it would be nice for her to come from Clark, she could come from any HBCU. However, it wouldn’t make sense for Kenya to be seem so pro-alma mater and then make Ryan Destiny come from Spelman. It’s nothing against Spelman. It’s just the principle,” she stated. Another family member added, “It’s the principle that there’s already that internal elitist of Spelman and Morehouse vs. Clark Atlanta so as a graduate, don’t feed into that.” Now I’m an AAMU Bulldog all day so should this be an extensive discussion, I’ll leave it to the AUC (maybe). This makes a lot of sense to me though, especially being from Atlanta.
Maybe Jillian will come from Howard since it has been mentioned quite a bit throughout Black-ish and Grown-ish. Remember that Zoey’s father, played by Anthony Anderson, went to Howard as well as Junior (kinda.) Aaron’s character also previously admitted that he chose Cal U over Howard. That could be a topic of discussion.
In a more social aspect, What if Jillian has run into Junior before? What if Jillian and Aaron become a “thing” since they can talk activism together? What if Luca becomes infatuated with Jillian’s ability to understand his mind of art? That would most likely result in a problem with Zoey and Luca’s relationship. I know we’re not even done with season 2B yet but there are just so many possibilities since Freeform released the announcement of our new cast member and we can’t wait to see what’s in store. The gaps in between seasons can’t go by quick enough. In the meantime, can we get an updated intro for the show? What do you guys think? The song doesn’t have to change but since Doug has been upped to a series regular and Jillian seems like she might be sticking around, we need to see them on the couch clanking red solo cups too!