Variety is reporting that "creative differences" between ABC and creator/showrunner Kenya Barris are behind the shelving of an episode, titled Please, Baby, Please, of the hit series Black-ish.
The episode centers around father Dre, (Anthony Anderson) trying to get his newborn to sleep. When all attempts fail he begins telling the baby about the state of the world. Eventually a debate erupts between Dre and oldest son Junior (Marcus Scribner) over football players having the right to take the knee during the National Anthem in protest of systematic racism and police brutality. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the protest in 2016 and, not coincidentally, remains unsigned.
A spokesperson for ABC had this to say about the episode:
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. However, on this episode there were creative differences we were unable to resolve.
For his part, Barris had this to say about the decision:
Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it. 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.
The vagueness of the explanation makes us want to see the episode even more.
One Twitter user, LEFT, a PhD Candidate studying Black re-presentation in multiple media, had some ideas:
Blackish has covered everything from, "Trump’s election, the N-word, postpartum depression, and police brutality," but when the show, DURING BLACK HISTORY MONTH, tried to tackle athletes taking a knee as a form of protest, ABC/Disney SHUT THE EPISODE DOWN. https://t.co/1WJtWHOrML— LEFT🏴 (@LeftSentThis) March 11, 2018
Follow me...— LEFT🏴 (@LeftSentThis) March 11, 2018
Blackish is housed on ABC. ABC is owned by Disney. Disney also owns ESPN. ESPN and ABC are partners with the NFL. The NFL is Blackballing Kaepernick/actively silencing players protesting by taking a knee.
Now ABC/Disney partner of the NFL is silencing Blackish. https://t.co/OLClqeM1EV
People were definitely not happy with Disney and ABC:
That’s the problem when these big corporations own all the media— Tiffany Michelle (@BigTiff2578) March 11, 2018
Some folks were hoping the episode would get leaked:
now I'm thinking... got to be leaked somewhere. Not a bootlegger but ill make exceptions.— Kevin L. Parker (@KamauKuumba) March 11, 2018
And there was a lot of disappointment at a missed opportunity to broaden important discussions:
I can't believe ABC with all the controversial issues Blackish has tackled, would shut the one down about kneeling. Very disappointed.— Claudia Collins (@claudmonica) March 11, 2018
This isn't a show that steers clear of "issues" & the show shouldn't be "shelved" because it makes people uncomfortable-the only way we're going to change or fix anything in this world is to talk about the stuff that makes us uncomfortable.— Diane Lennartson (@libragirl924) March 11, 2018
We hope Disney and ABC change their minds. The people want to see the show.