The episode, “Hope,” centers on the Johnson family’s reactions to a court case involving an African American teenager who was allegedly the victim of police violence. When the kids start asking questions about it, Dre (Anthony Anderson) and Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) are at odds over how to address them: Dre and his parents (played by Laurence Fishburne and Jenifer Lewis) want to offer an unvarnished look at how the legal system has treated black people, while Bow opts for a more hopeful message about what could be.
“It’s been 1,562 days since we first shared that episode with the world and it breaks my heart on so many levels that this episode feels just as timely as it did then and eerily prescient to what’s happening to black people in this country today,” Barris said in a statement posted to his social media channels.
When “Hope” aired in February 2016, Barris told The Hollywood Reporter, “I just hope that it’s received well and I hope that it actually starts a conversation, because I think that it’s a conversation we need to have.”
The episode, airing at 8 p.m., will be paired with “Juneteenth,” the show’s fourth-season premiere that features musical numbers about the holiday that marks the end of slavery in Texas.
Barris and ABC parted ways in 2018 after the network scrapped an episode of Black-ish that involved Dre telling his infant son a bedtime story that included dialogue and images that were said to be anti-Trump. Barris told THR in a September 2018 cover story that after trying to make cuts to the show, he and the network mutually agreed to shelve it because “what it ended up being, and I think the network would agree, was not a true representation of what we intended to do.”
Read Barris’ full statement below.
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