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Old 10-04-2019, 01:43 AM   #1
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Default Controversy Over ‘Mixed-ish’ multiracial comedy?

"In the third episode of the new sitcom Mixed-ish, which debuts September 24 on ABC, there is a classroom scene in which the camera zooms in on the back of 12-year-old Rainbow Johnson’s head (played by Arica Himmel) as she faces the teacher. Her hair is worn naturally and seemingly without gels, oils, or styling products. It’s big. Poof. It fills the screen.

Bow’s parents lived on a commune for the first 12 years of her life, where no one felt the need to discuss race, much less to style a biracial Black girl’s hair. When federal agents raided the farm, young Bow and her family were thrust into the real world, a place she doesn’t understand. Her voiceover reflections give the show a kind of “Wonder Years quality,” say producers, as she reflects on what it was like to grow up mixed-race in the 1980s."

. . .
Hair is just one of the many topics the series will tackle as it sets out to explore biracial identity from the point of view of a young girl being raised by a Black mother and a White father. The show is a prequel spinoff of Black-ish, the wildly successful ABC sitcom that follows the lives of Rainbow and Dre Johnson and their five children as they navigate the murky cultural waters of race.

“Hair is a very personal thing, and just one more thing that’s used to divide us,” says Angela Nissel, a co-executive producer on Mixed-ish and the author of Mixed: My Life in Black and White."

“All of the stories are seen through Bow’s lens,” says Karin Gist, the showrunner for Mixed-ish. She describes future episodes in which Bow visits a country club with her wealthy, White grandfather, Harrison (played by Gary Cole), and is confronted with racism inside her own family. In another episode, the relationship between Bow’s mother Alicia (played by Tika Sumpter) and Aunt Denise (played by Christina Anthony) is highlighted, says Gist, as viewers see “how culture is stolen… or not so easily defined for African Americans.” Another focuses on Rainbow’s first dance, where the decision of who to date “feels weightier” to her because she’s biracial.
. . .
A more nuanced critique is that Black-ish seems to already cover the “spectrum” of Blackness, which includes cultural estrangement, alienation, and assimilation, and that focusing on Bow’s biraciality on yet another show is redundant.

Mixed-ish producers and writers disagree.

“That’s a different story,” says Karin Gist. “Black-ish is about a guy who pulls himself up and has access and privilege and then looks around at his family and says, ‘Did I miss the mark culturally with them?’ Rainbow is biracial but there’s a difference for her in trying to incorporate both sides of herself. It’s not just about being lighter-skinned. That’s a different journey.”
Does the Controversy Over ‘Mixed-ish’ Have Merit?
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