SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!
If you are not caught up with the show, Black-ish, do not continue reading. You have been warned.
A couple of weeks ago I was catching up on some shows I've missed this spring season. I don't watch a lot of television due to a busy schedule that includes work, children, and trying to write/publish. But every once in a while, there is a lull in the craziness. I take advantage of those less busy moments to just sit and enjoy the down time.
If any of you have watched the show Black-ish, you'll know it's a sitcom that combines comedy with some serious takes on real world issues facing people of color. Although I don't always agree with the parenting styles of Andre and Rainbow Johnson, I love the content. Ruby and Pops remind me of the old school parenting where we graduated from the school of hard knocks and still came out okay.
I also identify a lot with Rainbow because I'm biracial (afakasi in Samoan). It probably doesn't help that my husband and a former supervisor say I remind them of Bow with my facial expressions, tone, and sarcasm. I remember the episode where they cover the issue of Rainbow identifying as a black woman and dealing with the feeling that she was neglecting her white (dad's) side. I've had this same conversation with people in the past because I identify as a Samoan. This does not discount my caucasian side one bit. Rainbow's talk with her dad revealed him seeing her as a black woman because that's how the world saw her. But not once did he feel as if that took away from him being her father or being a part of her life.
There have been bits and pieces of each show where I can say I've experienced some of what was going on with the characters, but these last few episodes really struck a chord on a deeply personal level for me. It started off with the marital strife between Rainbow and Andre. I cried at some point during every single one of these episodes because not only did I feel their pain, I lived it. After one episode, my third daughter commented, "I thought this was supposed to be a comedy?" Every marriage takes work. Many marriages go through difficult times and sometimes, unfortunately, end in separation. I'm happy to say, like Bow and Dre, my own marriage has suffered but we were blessed to have found our way back to each other.
The final episode has been on my mind since I watched it last night. This is what prompted me to write this blog entry. The middle of the night phone call with Bow sobbing and Dre asking her what's wrong. Her dad had passed away. It transported me back to this past August with a 4am phone call. Dad. Hospital. Not going to make it. Nothing they can do. I remember sobbing by myself, completely lost. I called my husband in Kauai. Like Bow, I cried uncontrollably. My dad. My rock. I got on the earliest flight I could. As I was getting my rental car, the agent asked what brought me to the Bay Area. I told her I was visiting my dad. She said, "Oh, you're his angel to come and see him." I told her, "He will actually be our angel soon." And the tears started to fall. When I looked up at the agent, she shared my sorrow. She shared my tears. She asked if she could pray for me and my family. I said yes. And I thanked her. Then she thanked me. Not for my business. But for sharing such a personal and painful thing with her.
Thank you, Black-ish writers, for not sugar coating anything. For showing us the real stuff. The good, the bad, the ugly. For showing us the pains that families go through. For showing us the absolute love that only families can share. Thank you.