A 'black-ish' Spinoff Is Needed Now More Than Ever

by Allie Gemmill
Kelsey MacNeal/ABC

Probably the best piece of news during the last week of Barack Obama's presidency and the first of Donald Trump's was the announcement of a poetntial black-ish spinoff at ABC revolving around Zoey, the oldest daughter of Dre and Rainbow Johnson. TVLine reported that it's the network's intention to "follow Zoey as she goes off to college," which poses some seriously exciting opportunities to explore Trump's America through Zoey's unique position in the world. The spinoff would reportedly take shape first as a backdoor pilot, and then ostensibly come to fruition when the Johnsons really send Zoey off to college.

This spinoff — which Deadline reported still has no firm deals or scripts in place (so details may change going forward) — would continue black-ish creator Kenya Barris' aim of creating contemporary and challenging television programming. black-ish is a hit at ABC, not just because of the cast or their comedic efforts, but because the show is unafraid to tackle timely issues related to race, gender, and politics.

Such was the case with recent watershed black-ish episode, "Lemons." It marked a turning point in the show, narratively, because it saw the Johnson family dealing with the intersection of their race and their politics in a more confrontational manner. Barris recently told The New York Times that black-ish would continue to remain timely and relevant, whatever that may mean while trying to stay evergreen. This signals to me that the hope fans saw in Zoey's pep talk to her mother could become a through line in her spinoff.

On black-ish, Zoey will not only going off to college soon, thus starting an exciting new chapter in her life, but she will also be living is possibly more uncertain times. As a young, black woman in a version of America that could potentially treat her more harshly, it will be crucial to see how she navigates the world. Although, I have no doubt in my mind that Zoey, like the spinoff, will be a total success and thrive properly once she hits her stride.