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Kenya Barris is easily one of the best writers in Hollywood, bringing black stories and experiences to the forefront of mainstream culture from a Black and “Black adjacent” point of view, hence the “-ish” on most of his programs. from black-ish, grown-ish, and mixed-ish to now Netflix’s #blackAF we get a real sense of who Kenya is. #blackAF centers on mockumentary (fictional documentary) of Kenya’s family as told through his second oldest daughter, Drea Barris (Iman Benson), an aspiring filmmaker looking to apply to New York University’s film school.

Grade: A-

netflix blackaf

Throughout the series Kenya and his non-practicing, but lovable wife, Joya (Rashida Jones), try to raise their six kids with all the benefits of being upper class while instilling (here and there) what it still means to be Black in America. The comedy takes on issues like the adultification of black girls, the history of Juneteenth, bisexuality, being the first person in your family to make it, judging Black content, and having to prove your blackness when you are biracial. The series also features some really amazing guest appearances from Tyler Perry, Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, Will Packer, Tae Heckard, Nia Long, Ava DuVernay and others.

netflix blackaf

However, the series is essentially a richer, more shallow version of black-ish, which may very well be Kenya poking fun at himself for being a “one trick pony” as his television daughter discusses in the series. The Barrises are very similar to black-ish’s Johnsons led by Andre (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) however they are far busier living the life and hype of having made it as opposed to a middle class family maintaining it. Essentially, imagine Andre and Rainbow “bad and boojie!” Kenya and Joya, however, are definitely way more fun and a bit more carefree than their middle class counterparts, and Drea is a true gem. She is actually the heart of the show as she hilariously shows the highs and lows of her family, while dropping some much needed Black history and facts. She is far more woke than any of the Johnson children, with the exception of Junior (Marcus Scribner), ever were.

Still this is a series worth watching because it is actually good and entertaining, and without saying it #BingeWatchWorthy! You can stream #blackAF now only on Netflix!

What We Like:

netflix blackaf

-Drea is LIFE! Showing the family through her gaze was sheer genius. It is refreshing, funny, and informative in a fun, cool, and trendy way.

-The comedic timing from the characters is hilarious

-The Barrises approach to parenting is very modern and hilarious. They clearly say what so many parents think on a daily basis, but would not dare talk to their kids about.

What We Loved:

netflix blackaf

-The backdrop of a mockumentary for the series

-The Black facts and information. The explanation of adultification when it comes to Black girls was especially informative and timely.

-The return of Bumper Robinson and Tae Heckard to the small screen. We have not seen them since BET’s The Game.

-The guest appearances from the elite of Black writers in Hollywood. The solidarity and support of their appearances says a lot.

What We Hated:

netflix blackaf

-Six children is a bit much. Besides Drea and Izzy the other children pretty much get lost in the mix. They have their moments here and there, but we could have done without them.

-Some aspects of the show are too similar to black-ish. Perhaps both shows are truly based of Kenya’s actual life but did we really need to see another pro-Black, luxury jumpsuit wearing, successful Black man with a biracial wife overcompensating for her former ambition by trying to be a “cool mom?”  We actually would have preferred a character a little closer to The Fresh Prince’s original “Aunt Viv”–truly “black AF!”

 

 

Television & Radio

Donald Faison Cast as “Professor Utonium” in Live Action “Power Puff Girls!”

Donald Faison has found his latest role as “Professor Utonium,” the creator/father of “The Power Puff Girls” in The CW’s forthcoming live action series, “Power Puff.”

“Power Puff” will show the girls as disillusioned twentysomethings, resentful of having spent their childhoods fighting crime. However, new threats to the world may force them once again to band together.

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donald faison professor utonium power puff

Donald Faison has found his latest role as “Professor Utonium,” the creator/father of “The Power Puff Girls” in The CW’s forthcoming live action series, “Power Puff.”

“Power Puff” will show the girls as disillusioned twentysomethings, resentful of having spent their childhoods fighting crime. However, new threats to the world may force them once again to band together.

donald faison professor utonium power puff

Donald Faison is best known for his comedic performances in hit series like Clueless and Scrubs. His casting comes as a surprise to many, especially since Professor Utonium is literally a square-jawed Caucasian man. In “Power Puff” Faison’s Utonium will be middle aged, and although very proud of his girls, desperately trying his best to repair his relationships with his now adult daughters.

professor utonium

Professor Utonium using “sugar, spice, and everthing nice”

As you may recall, from the original cartoon series from the nineties brought to fame on Cartoon Network, Professor Utonium accidentally created The Power Puff Girls–Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup–when he accidentally mixed in the mysterious substance, “Chemical X,”while mixing in “sugar, spice, and everything nice” to create “the perfect little girl.” The Professor then took to raising the girls as well as being their mentor.

The reception of Faison’s casting has been met with mixed responses on social media; with some fans praising the news and others already trashing the show:

Alongside Faison’s casting, it was announced earlier this month that Chloe Bennet, Dove Cameron, and Yana Perrault will take on the roles of Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, respectively. There is currently no word on casting for other characters in the series like The Mayor, Miss Bellum, Mojo JoJo, Fuzzy Lumpkins, Him, Princess, or The Rowdy Ruff Boys.

“Power Puff” marks one of the few superhero series on The CW not connected to its famous interconnected series based on DC Comics superheroes known collectively as “The Arrowverse” (Superman & Lois, Supergirl, The Flash, Batwoman, Black Lightning, DC’s The Legends of Tomorrow, and Stargirl) The new series will premiere this upcoming Fall on The CW.

 

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Television & Radio

Jordan Fisher Cast as “Bart Allen/Impulse” in The CW’s “The Flash!”

The CW’s hit series, “The Flash” has cast Jordan Fisher as “Bart Allen” in their latest season coinciding with the series’ 150th episode anniversary.

Bartholomew “Bart” Allen, in the television series, is the son of Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) and Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton). Like his father he is a speedster, but hails from the future, fighting crime alongside The Flash as “Impulse.”

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jordan fisher cast as bart allen impulse

The CW’s hit series, “The Flash” has cast Jordan Fisher as “Bart Allen” in their latest season coinciding with the series’ 150th episode anniversary.

Bartholomew “Bart” Allen, in the television series, is the son of Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) and Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton). Like his father he is a speedster, but hails from the future, fighting crime alongside The Flash as “Impulse.”

jordan fisher cast as bart allen impulse

The Flash (Barry Allen) and Iris West-Allen

Bart’s appearance marks the second of The Flash’s future children to visit them in the past; the first being Nora Allen, their daughter in Season 6 of the series. Actor Jordan Fisher is best known for his roles in “Grease: Live,” To All The Boys I’ve Ever Loved: P.S. I Still Love You,” and Disney’s “Teen Beach Movie.” This also marks the first time an African-American has portrayed the character.

In the comics, however, Bart is not The Flash’s son, but his grandson, being the son of Meloni Thawn and Don Allen, the latter being The Flash’s son and one of The Tornado Twins, twin speedsters with powers similar to their father’s. Bart grows up to become the second Kid Flash and the fourth Flash  There is currently no word on why The CW’s version of the character does not have the same origins.

jordan fisher

Jordan Fisher

Fan response to Fisher’s casting has been largely positive, however:

Jordan Fisher’s casting only confirms The CW’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity, as it found itself re-examining its policies and show castings following issues on “Riverdale.”

As you may recall, the show was riddled with accusations of racism by Riverdale actress, Vanessa Morgan, for its mishandling of Black characters by writing them off, paying them less than their White co-stars, and making Black characters “sidekicks.” The network responded adding more Black characters to various shows and will try not underutilize black characters or portray them as criminals.

The air date for Jordan Fisher’s debut as “Bart Allen/Impulse” has yet to be announced.

 

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Television & Radio

“Batwoman” Reportedly Canceled After Season 3, Javicia Leslie To Return

The days of Gotham City’s “Scarlet Knight,” are numbered. It is being reported The CW’s “Batwoman” is being canceled after its third upcoming season.

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batwoman javicia leslie

The days of Gotham City’s “Scarlet Knight,” are numbered. It is being reported The CW’s “Batwoman” is being canceled after its third upcoming season.

batwoman ruby rose and javicia leslie

Ruby Rose as “Batwoman” and Javicia Leslie

“Batwoman,” as you may recall initially starred Ruby Rose as “Kate Kane,” making history as television’s first lesbian led superhero series. It entailed Batwoman taking on her demented twin sister, Alice, as she attempts to destroy Gotham City. However, in a surprise move, Ruby resigned after the first season of the series, and was subsequently replaced with African-American actress, Javicia Leslie as “Ryan Wilder.”

Although fans and the public have largely embraced Javicia as the new Batwoman, the ratings for the second series have been abysmal. Many blame Ruby’s departure and the recasting of the role with a Black actress instead of another Caucasian one as the lead.

Javicia leslie as batwoman

Reaction to the cancellation news has been mixed with some fans outraged. Not only did League take away Lux’s BA Animations from me today but I’m finding out [The] CW wants to cancel Batwoman after  S3 [Season 3] too???? What the actual f**k? How do they expect me to live without Alice?”@ENTIR3HEARTS tweeted. While others felt the show’s cancellation is overdue. @itisrealz tweeted “Showing men of color in a negative light is not bad at all, they’re being treated like any other white villain character and not made to feel special or cringey unlike ‘Batwoman’ that thinks Black people are something special when they’re just humans.”

Despite the series’ impending demise, sources are reporting this will not be the end of Javicia Leslie as the famed vigilante, instead she will make appearances in other surviving “CWverse” shows (a network of other intertwined superhero based series on The CW, creating a television “multiverse” similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe).

Currently, neither The CW or any member of the Batwoman cast have released any official statement on the cancellation reports on the series.

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