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‘black-ish’ N-word episode gets positive vibe from viewers

Executive producer of "black-ish" Kenya Barris, left, talks with Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross on the set during rehearsal

Executive producer of “black-ish” Kenya Barris, left, talks with Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross on the set during rehearsal

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

ABC’s “black-ish” started out its second season with a bold stroke: taking on the controversial N-word in an episode that made even the creator of the show, Kenya Barris, a little nervous.

Barris and others wondered how viewers would react to a comedic spin on argubly the most volatile word in America. But those who tuned in to the ABC comedy Wednesday largely seemed to give the episode a big thumbs up.

Stephen Lovegrove (@drlovegrove) tweeted, “Last night, Blackish started a conversation about a sensitive topic (the N word) without polorizing/being offensive. So impressed #blackish.”

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“Why didn’t anybody tell me how funny #Blackish is?!?” tweeted @Michaelinho. “This N-word episode has me in tears!”

Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) tweeted, “What show, beside #Blackish, is debating the n-word in such a smart way? I LOVE THIS SHOW!”

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In the episode, titled “THE Word,” 6-year-old Jack Johnson (Miles Brown), the youngest son of Andre “Dre” Johnson (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross), faces expulsion from his private prep school after mimicking Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” during a talent show. In the infectious chorus, West raps, “I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger, but she ain’t messin’ with no broke ...”

Even though the school has a zero tolerance policy against offensive language — a policy that Rainbow initiated — the parents publicly defend their son’s performance while privately examining their own differing and conflicted feelings about the word.

One viewer admitted approaching the episode with doubts. “I thought this N Word episode of #blackish was going to be terrible but I was wrong!” tweeted Maxine Shaw (@recogniZE_TAste). “Very funny.:

Robrigo Hernandez (@RodrigoToGo) was so taken by the episode that he said it should be submitted “for an Emmy.”

The installment had its detractors. Ken D (@HRGApollo) declared he was very “tired of ‘black sitcomes where all the jokes are “I’M BLACK.”

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