A Black-ish Episode About Kneeling Athletes Will Never Be Aired
ABC’s Black-ish has rarely shied away from discussing and dealing with contemporary issues, making it one of the boldest shows on network television about race and society in America. In February, the network announced that a new episode, scheduled for the 27th of the month, would be replaced with a rerun from earlier in the series. The original episode was never aired, and now never will be, according to a new report that says ABC and the show’s creator, Kenya Barris, had creative differences about the episode that couldn’t be resolved.
The episode, titled “Please, Baby, Please,” was shot in November and directed by showrunner Barris. On the night of a big thunderstorm that keeps the whole family awake, Anthony Anderson’s Dre cares for their infant son Devante who refuses to stop crying and go back to sleep. After reading the child a bedtime story doesn’t work, Dre decides to make up one of his own that touches on “multiple political and social issues” as well as Dre’s concerns about the state of the country. One scene features Dre and his eldest son Junior (Marcus Scribner) arguing over whether or not athletes should be allowed to kneel before games, a la Colin Kaepernick. These tricky subjects, it seems, proved too tricky for ABC and Barris to reconcile.
“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 on Friday. “However, on this episode there were creative differences we were unable to resolve.”
Barris echoed ABC’s language: “Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it,” Barris said to Variety. “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.”