Welcome back ‘Grown-ish’ fans! This week’s episode picks up where we left off with Doug, Kelia and Aaron deciding to join the protests about police brutality in the streets of L.A. Zoey, Jazz, Ana and Nomi decide to make some signs and banners, and gather other Cal-U students to make their presence heard too.
This generation will not be silenced and continues to put our nation on notice. The American public must face a reckoning with the racial injustices of Black men and women that have gone on for centuries. The killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were only the tipping point for the social and cultural changes America and the world need to address to reconcile its past. I have a lot to say about this episode of ‘Grown-ish’ “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” so lets dive in shall we.
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
The opening scene of this weeks ‘Grown-ish’ took my breath away. When the camera pans in we see some familiar faces, holding #BLM signage, and peacefully protesting on Cal-U’s campus. You could hear Billie Holiday’s famous rendition of “Strange Fruit” sung by a black male, with a megaphone leading a huge crowd of college students demanding change. How poignant the scene was, and how relevant the song still is more than 80 years later. “Southern trees bear a strange fruit blood on the leaves and blood at the root Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze strange fruit hanging from the poplar tree.”
So many things have changed in America within the past 18 months. From the on-going COVID pandemic, epic global warming, the storming of the U.S. Capitol, and pivotal racial shifts and attitudes due to the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. The fictional college of Cal-U was like many colleges around the nation in this time of racial awakening, with the students banding together and demanding CHANGE.
Nomi also had to come to terms with her white fragility in “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See,” and honey Emily Arlook gave Nomi’s character depth and a vulnerability in a manner I’ve never seen from her before. I’ve always thought the friend group of Nomi, Zoey, Jazz, and Ana was unique. Those girls all have completely different personalities, come from different backgrounds, but love each other unconditionally and support each other fully. College is about breaking out your comfort zone and finding new friends and interests.
These girls have been ride or die for each other since freshman year and I really dig it. Nomi is the only white girl in their friend group, she’s also bisexual and is a mom to a toddler. Out of everyone I expected Nomi to be the MOST understanding to racial injustices. It turns out, she is sympathetic, but not when it comes to looting and rioting. Nomi makes a comment to Jazz and Zoey about “those people” and this changes the course of the conversation completely. It went from an open dialogue about changing the system and standing up for the oppressed to Nomi feeling attacked because of her stance on race and how she sees the world.
The point I’m making is pivotal children, because although Nomi views herself as someone who doesn’t see color and loves all, this doesn’t make her a great person, and no one will be giving her any awards for the white savior complex she has. When you take away someone’s color, you take away their identity, their heritage. The world is full of different colors, hues and ethnicities, and I don’t need another white girl telling me she doesn’t see color and that she’s raising her child to be the same way.
Ummmm No! So when Zoey and Jazz called Nomi out on her way of thinking, I was both happy and relieved that they were having an open conversation with each other like adults. Look, I get Nomi is a product of her raising, and I really appreciated her owning up to that fallacy in the end and apologizing to her friends for not hearing them. #hugitout
On the flip side of things, Ana and Javi are not my favorite couple by any means. I have really disliked both of them at times and for different reasons. I believe Ana is a drama queen, and she’s super judgmental, but I know her heart is always in the right place. Javi is a Lin-Miranda wannabe and every time they give him screen time, I want to punch him in his smug little face. This fool had the nerve, the gall even, to go to a Black Lives Matter protest and thank the police officers for their service, the same police officers who are tear gassing his classmates and so-called friends. What. The. Actual. Fuck. Javi.
Ana is speechless and so am I. How is she dating Javi? How have they made it this far after everything he’s put her through this year. Finally, Ana takes a stand and tells Javi’s arrogant ass that he is dead ass wrong for his behaviors and stance on race. Javi IS A MINORITY IS HE NOT? He IS Latino. Does Javi think he gets a pass because he looks white and can pass in certain situations? Enquiring minds want to know, but passing is a whole other conversation and not for this post. Thank you Ana for coming to your senses and breaking up with Javi, no regrets girl and don’t look back. You cannot date someone who does not have your best interests at heart and who is low-key racist. #ByeJavi
My favorite part of this episode of ‘Grown-ish’ was also the saddest. As Luca, Aaron, Doug and Keila march through the streets of downtown L.A. they are hit with tear gas. “Black bodies swaying in the breeze….” As a viewer I’m mortified and experienced some PTSD, because this fictional show is all too real and relevant to what is happening RIGHT NOW. Keila gets separated from the group and takes the brunt of the tear gas, but she is taken care of by her black brothers who walk her home to make sure she is safe.
The police are arresting people for no apparent reason other than there is a large presence of black and brown people peacefully gathered. The American flag languishes on a black man riding a bicycle through the chaos and the tear gas. The looting begins, because Black people are not heard or seen as individuals WE are NOT valued. It’s NOT that Black people are thieves or criminals, but when you are oppressed for centuries, raped, segregated, beaten down and never seen, and no value is put on your life, what do you have left to do?
“The Revolution will not be televised. You will not be able to turn on, plug in and cop out. The Revolution will not be brought to you. NBC will not be able to predict the winner.”
Grown-ish airs Thursdays 8/7c on Freeform.