During a visit to the Black-ish set for the tail end of the summer TCA press tour, creator Kenya Barris touched on what we can expect for next season, particularly the first episode.

The Season 4 premiere of the hit ABC series will have a musical element with an “homage to Hamilton” centered around the Juneteenth celebration, Barris said.

He says the idea for the episode came after he researched different events in American history.

“Juneteenth… to be fair, if that was the last day when slavery was officially abolished [in the U.S.], isn’t that really Independence Day?”, Barris pondered. “How can we have an independence before everyone is independent and everyone’s free.” He added, “It came from that notion that we have to own our own stuff, whatever that stuff. You can’t expect someone else to take it seriously until you take it seriously. We wanted to really have a statement to America.”


He continued to talk about the importance of such episodes in the Black-ish realm. In the new season’s first episode, Andre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) and his family will be dealing with slave relations in this country and how they’re still relevant today.

“Slavery in this country kind of just ended… there was never really a reset button,” he said. “There’s never been one prosecutable case against slavery because it was just something that ended. If you’re Jewish in America, the Holocaust was a horrible thing.. there’s a face put to that evil.. there was a criminality put to that. The idea from the people who were the descendants [of slaves] was that there’s never really been a true apology.”

On that note, Barris also was asked his thoughts on the recent announcement of HBO’s Confederate.

“There’s space for everything. It’s hard for me to weigh in on Confederate because I have not read an ounce of a script.” He continued, “I don’t have to agree with something to like it. It could be well executed and well done. There’s space for alternative history or futures [storylines], I’m interested in that,” but “I think it’s a very dangerous playground… They have to be very careful.”