"black-ish" takes on Columbus Day with "Hamilton"-inspired "Juneteenth" musical episode

Posted on: October 3rd, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

ABC/Kelsey McNeal(NEW YORK) — Black-ish returns Tuesday night, and it kicks off its fourth season in topical style, with Columbus Day around the corner.

In the episode, the Johnsons go to Jack and Diane’s school play about Columbus Day, and Anthony Anderson’s Dre is dismayed by the historically inaccurate way that the holiday is portrayed.

“You know, he’s like, ‘We don’t have a holiday of our own. We celebrate everybody else’s accomplishments, but important moments in our history, we don’t,'” Anderson explains to ABC Radio.

Dre’s idea is to replace the Columbus Day holiday with a Juneteenth holiday — celebrating the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865, and the emancipation of slaves generally after the Civil War.

“Juneteenth is a huge deal for him because it is the day that abolished slavery. And he feels that we need to celebrate that,” Anderson explains. “And here we are celebrating Columbus Day, a man who didn’t even set foot in North America, and ‘discovered’ America while he was lost at sea. But Juneteenth isn’t acknowledged at all. So, he’s on a campaign.”

Turns out that campaign involves joining with guest star, R&B singer Aloe Blacc, to write a Hamilton-like Juneteenth musical.

“We get our Hamilton on, man,” Anderson says. “We have two huge musical numbers that are flashbacks to us working on a plantation. So it’ll be interesting to see how audiences respond to that.”

However audiences react, Anderson’s co-star Tracee Ellis Ross loved it. “We learned it really fast. And I felt so proud of our cast. I felt like,…’We’re going to take this on the road kids!’ These two numbers are going out for regional theater. Or Broadway. We’ll take Broadway,” she tells ABC Radio. 

Black-ish season four premieres Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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